Superintendent candidate Susan Borden likes to be visible to and approachable by community members, and sees Greendale as a perfect place to do that.
Borden is a former teacher and elementary school principal who has worked in Franklin and Muskego. She has spent the last two years as superintendent for the Germantown School District.
Borden held her meet-and-greet session Tuesday evening, and told school officials and community members that she’s interested in coming to Greendale for the small town charm.
Borden has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as one of 30 superintendents from the United States who participated in a US-China delegation, and she has lived in and done service work overseas, including in Tokyo and France.
Borden has been impressed with collaboration between the district and the village departments in Greendale, and looks forward to continuing that.
She said she is used to a collaborative environment, and cited an example from Germantown, where the district worked with the police to identify a missing boy. A picture was sent to her, and she forwarded it to the principals who were able to identify him in “45 seconds.” She hopes to continue this kind of collaboration in Greendale.
She also stressed the importance of approachability and visibility in the school district.
“Typically I’m the person you see walking into the football game handing out the roster with some bit of school news,” Borden said who has attended 200 to 350 community events a year during her time in Germantown.
Borden is a member of a chamber executive board, worked with Germantown scholarship fund and sits on a hospital board.
In order to engage the community Borden says it’s important to reach out in formal and informal settings. Schools should not expect the community to come to them because not everyone has kids in the district, she says.
When asked how she was going to keep Greendale a destination school district she said it's all about marketing. Borden says schools usually don’t boast about themselves and should. To keep Greendale a destination she says the district needs to be pro-active with its visibility.
Borden says research shows the two most powerful things in a school district are the quality of classroom teachers and the quality of district leadership. "It’s indisputable,” she said.
Borden, who originally applied for the human resources director at Germantown, said that human resources seemed natural because she specializes in best hiring practices based on student achievement. After Borden applied for the human resources director position at Germantown she was asked to apply for the superintendent position and has been in that position for the past two years.
After she said that her father was a life-long union president she was asked how she plans to work with the tools Act 10 has to offer. Her response was, “I don’t know what it’s like to be a superintendent before Act 10… Now you got a new generation of superintendents that have never known anything different. I don’t think it’s about being for Act 10 or being for unions. I think it’s about thinking what’s best for the district’s kids and what’s best for the community…. I really have to focus on finance, instruction, good hiring and pupil services.”
Someone asked her about diversity and Borden says that it’s necessary to help the community understand the growth of diversity, which includes ethnic, faculty and economic diversity.
A number of Germantown teachers sat in the forum, including a Greendale parent.
“Dr. Borden is the quintessential professional and the teachers that are aware she might leave are in an anxious mood,” he said. “In the last couple of years with the political climate, it’s been dicey. She’s been the best advocate to protect programs and teachers. We hate to see her go, but if she has to go I’m glad it’s the school district I live in.”
On a personal note, Borden is single with two dogs and currently lives in Sussex. She says she would definitely attempt to move to Greendale if she gets the job.
This position opened up earlier this year when to take a position with Schools That Can Milwaukee.
's meet and greet.