This week, Joel Gagne is joined by Dr. Phillip Price, retired superintendent and Executive Director of the Midwest Suburban Superintendent’s Association.

In analyzing strong educational leadership, Dr. Price says he looks to see what an individual was like as a teacher.

“I think it’s extremely helpful, because you understand what’s going on in the classroom,” he says. “Not just observe it, but understand.”

Dr. Price, a third-generation educator, adds that a high tolerance for ambiguity is key.

He sees true leaders as those who could not only manage a difficult situation but change a culture.

To assist younger and up-and-coming superintendents, he suggests establishing a counseling program. High-performing districts should hire someone to provide a continuous feedback loop.

Dr. Price and Gagne discuss the growing competition for the best of the best, saying districts increasingly are poaching talent.

“I think you’re going to see almost a private school model,” Dr. Price says. “This is what you have to do.”

Asked about one thing he wants to improve in the educational system, Dr. Price describes a robust tutoring program mimicking Japanese culture.