Getting to Work Community of Opportunity: Part 2
To understand everything that’s going on in the Gary Community School Corporation, just spend a day with Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt.
On the first day of the new academic year, Pruitt is in the car, making the rounds to each of her district’s schools. It’s something she says she’s tried to do in the past, and wants to do more.
"I may just go in to see if they need anything, and try to touch the teachers in case they need something I don’t know about, and also to build that relationship where they feel like they can come and talk to me," Pruitt says.
Already on this first day, her to-do list is filling up.
Transportation is an issue – Pruitt has to call the district’s contracted bus company to find out why busses did not show up to take kids to school. She also has to contact the IT team to address an online parent portal that’s not yet up-and-running, and deal with the lack of adequate security detail to screen students as they entered the high school buildings.
The word ‘busy’ doesn’t even begin to describe Pruitt’s schedule. Her head appears to be on a constant swivel, answering phone calls and emails, greeting teachers, and interacting with students in the school building.
"Is there ever a day when you’re not getting a text message or a call?" I ask, as her cell phone rings for the third time before 9 a.m.
"Never!" Pruitt laughs. "Not even on Saturdays or Sundays!"
As superintendent, Pruitt oversees Gary's 16 academic buildings. She says each has its own successes – and its own challenges. Last winter, kids from two schools had to be squeezed into one building when the pipes burst in one of the old structures. This year, due to a vote by Indiana’s State Board of Education, one area middle school has closed, and Gary has configured other buildings to accommodate those kids.