Hartford Public Schools Welcomes Don Slater!
SPOTLIGHT ON EXCELLENCE Issue 18 October 26,2012
HPS Welcomes Don Slater!
Last week, we had the opportunity to chat with Don Slater, Hartford Public Schools' new Chief Operating Officer. The ever-ebullient Mr. Slater elucidates his past, below:
What brought you to Hartford?
I originally started my teaching career over 20 years ago in Hartford at A.I. Prince Tech as a science teacher. So that initially brought me to Hartford and Connecticut.
What was your last role?
I was the Proud Principal of William H. Hall High School in West Hartford for the past 10 years and the Assistant Principal there for the four years before that.
What brought you to Hartford Public Schools?
I had been at my previous employer for 14 years. I believe that we did some incredible work changing and improving the lives of students. I have always enjoyed and loved my work in urban settings and was just waiting for the right opportunity. Once I learned about the Chief Operating Officer position I knew that it was the next step for me in my career ladder. I believe that this new position will bring me several opportunities to grow. I look forward to supporting the work of our teachers, administrators and families as we bring a world class education to all the students and families of Hartford.
What challenges do you think you face in Hartford compared to your last role?
In my last position as principal, there were 1,500 students and I made it a point to speak to and try to get to know just about all of them. In Hartford, there are over 30 schools and 20,000 students. I consider myself a relationship type person, and trying to learn the names and faces of all the administrators, staff, students and their families with is definitely a challenge. But I plan on learning as many as I can and building meaningful relationships with them.
What will be your mission in the next year? Year one – learn the people, the culture and protocols of HPS. Use the first 90 days to develop and implement an entry plan that will focus on addressing the immediate and long-term challenges associated with the area of operations. Develop specific strategies that will support the district’s Strategic Operating Plan. In everything that we do in operations, most important is to provide the highest quality operation and support services essential to the educational success of Hartford’s students. The Facilities, Transportation, Nutrition, Security, and Printing and School Design Departments will work collaboratively to develop and continually improve upon our mission of providing positive contributions to support student learning, and encourage Hartford families, as well as the community, to feel welcome and engage in Hartford Schools.
What is a funny piece of trivia about you that we should know?
I don’t know why but, I am told that Cuba Gooding Jr. looks like me… what a compliment to Cuba! It is a great conversation starter for those who don’t know me. What else… My favorite superhero is Superman. (Superman and I have a lot of the same characteristics and he often times comes to me for advice.) And… I am originally from Mississippi.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Even though I have been at Hartford Public Schools' Central Office for a short time, I really am enjoying the people and the work. I look forward to a long career at Hartford Public Schools.