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Meet the Superintendent

With great enthusiasm, I am honored to introduce myself as Superintendent of the Sweet Home School District.

My Mission is to provide every student, every opportunity to grow as a thriving citizen.

My philosophy of education is simple and grounded in our history: Our Founding Fathers believed that in order for our democracy to succeed and its citizenry to be happy and free, its people needed to be educated. This belief is as true today as it was then. Our economy, our elections, and our personal contentment require us to be thinking, thriving, productive citizens. A school district must provide a positive learning environment in which students experience achievement, growth, and success. During, between, and after the academic experiences are the fundamental lessons of accountability, discipline, teamwork, integrity, social tolerance, civility, and service to others. A student’s academic, social, and personal development are intertwined.

To make a mission and philosophy a reality, we must create priority areas, followed by action plans, and measurements to hold ourselves accountable. Our 2016-17 Priority Areas:

Priority Area I--Increasing Student Achievement: Our first priority must center on student learning through instruction and targeting grade level and content standards so students graduate with the skills needed to enter technical schools, colleges, and a competitive modern workforce.

Priority Area II--Thriving Citizens: Our priorities must also address the importance of extracurricular or “non-curricular” activities, programs, and systems which: build character; assist the disadvantaged; instill work habits; awaken talents, dreams, and unknown skills; and motivate students to reach and succeed beyond our K-12 system.

Priority Area III--Effective and Efficient Operational Culture and Climate: Finally, our priorities would not be complete without continuously building the culture and climate of our supporting departments and staff. Facilities, maintenance, transportation, nutrition, secretaries, nurses, and all other student support staff are the backbone of what we do.

In all priority areas our goal is to simplify, clarify, and where needed, create goals and actions plans to drive us forward as a team.

Beyond our mission as a district and as your new superintendent, I am also grounded in many simple beliefs:

I believe in the pursuit of continuous improvement and growth—everyday, in all facets of an organization from students to staff to departments.

I believe in paying attention and celebrating what you want more of and listening, learning, and sharing successes so we can all learn and grow.

I believe in empowering people, for providing a person with the tools to improve is the single most critical offering we can give at any age, childhood to adulthood. The same holds true for schools, departments, content areas, and professional learning teams.

I believe in helping develop great systems, which are accompanied by great “can do” “all in” attitudes. Sweet Home has it, and I want to contribute to it.

I believe in wellness for all: students, staff, and parents. We want people, including myself, to strive for balanced lives in which we can carve out time for work, family, and fun—being connected to activities and environments that sing to our soul and make us feel connected and complete.

I believe in leading by example—“working hard and playing hard” as well as “working smarter not harder.” And when leading, I strive to put others first, always doing the right thing for students and families, and being kind and supportive to all.

I believe schools alone cannot do it all. To be truly great, parents, community partners, supporting agencies, programs, churches, community mentors—all working together, like the rising tide, lifts all--especially our children.

I believe the measurement of human greatness is not how much you get in life, but how much you give.

I believe our students are our community’s and our country’s most precious resources—they are the future and education is the American mechanism that can “level the playing field” and inspire greatness. I am honored every day to give every student every chance to be the best they can be!

Lastly, I believe in acting with integrity for my staff, community, and my family.

Sweet Home’s Lead Learner!

Tom Yahraes