James E. McDaniel Appointed Division Superintendent Effective July 1, 2003

Mr. James E. McDaniel

May I begin by saying what an honor and privilege it is to be selected as the next Division Superintendent for Pittsylvania County Schools. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the School Board for the vote of confidence and their support over the past seven years.

During this process I was faced with answering the question, "Why are you interested in becoming the superintendent of Pittsylvania County Schools?"

The key to success in any endeavor is the ability to lead others successfully. Everything rises and falls on leadership. My favorite leadership proverb is "A man who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following is only out for a walk."

The Pittsylvania County School System, under the leadership of the School Board and Dr. Jerry Webb, has attained statewide recognition as a quality system. I am thankful for the opportunity and proud to be part of the team that helped raise the respectability level of this division to new heights. The future brings new challenges for the staff, parents and students. Working together, I am confident we will use these as opportunities for continued growth and improvement.

Becoming superintendent provides the greatest opportunity to impact the lives of the 9,000 students in this school division. I have always possessed a passion for student learning and I genuinely want to see all scholars succeed. One of the key elements to their success is a keen understanding by each of us that our youngsters come from all types of environments and socioeconomic situations. Learning comes easier for some than it does to others. Therefore, it is not only our challenge, but also our duty to work tirelessly to ensure that each student achieves his/her full capacity and that every student succeeds. And it is one that I accept without any reservation.

Leaders must have a dream and inspire others to help make the dream come true. As superintendent I will strive to motivate teachers, students and staff to imagine greater possibilities for themselves and truly believe that these goals can be attained. Dr. David Campbell authored an intriguing little book titled, If You Donít Know Where You are Going You Will Probably End Up Somewhere Else. The lighthearted yet fascinating and involving book helps individuals understand, appreciate, and utilize their positive assets. The author poses two important questions. Will the future be determined by circumstances beyond oneís control or will individuals play an important role in determining the force and direction of the future? Quite simply stated, the accountability rests with leadership.

Pittsylvania County Schools has a talented leadership team consisting of assistant superintendents, directors, building level administrators, teachers and support staff. These individuals have remained focused regardless of the task. They continue to be enthusiastic in spite of daily discouragement. They apply creativity and motivational techniques regularly without thanks or applause. Daily, they help shape minds, stretch imaginations, challenge thinking and model consistency. They remain a tough-minded, clear-thinking, ever-learning risk-takers willing to accept new challenges and opportunities for professional growth. What a privilege it will be to lead such an impressive group.

Finally, Pittsylvania County is on the verge of significant economic growth. The leader of this school system will play a prominent role by understanding and shaping cultures. This requires strategic leadership. Success will largely be determined by the choices made by educational leaders in this region. If we are to remain competitive we must understand the trends, analyze the data and work toward continuous improvement for Southside Virginia. I will strive to serve as a change-agent building for the future. What an awesome responsibility!

Thank you again for your confidence and for your support. Together, we can continue to make Pittsylvania County not only a great place to learn, but also a great place to work!

See also: Superintendent's Minutes


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