Dr. Matt Baker

Superintendent’s Progress Report #3

                When I interviewed for this position, I presented the Board of Education with an Entry Plan that described, in detail, the activities that I would engage in during my first year as Superintendent.  One of the central activities in this Entry Plan was an activity I called, “10 Minutes with Matt”.  This activity has provided me with the opportunity to meet with every staff member on an individual basis for a few minutes so that I could get to know people on a more personal level.  This “10 Minutes with Matt” event has also provided an opportunity for all staff members to offer their input on the strengths and opportunities for improvement in our school district.  While I am still scheduling the last few employees for this activity, the vast majority have been completed.  These are some preliminary conclusions:

  • We have amazing teachers and staff members!I have been absolutely blown away by the professionalism of our staff.Our employees really love working here, and take great pride in our district.
  • Many of our staff members are very concerned about our growth and changing dynamics.One of the key aspects of our culture is that as a small school/district there is an intimate, family atmosphere that makes us truly special.Our teachers are concerned about losing this special culture in the face of growth and changing dynamics.Some preliminary suggestions from our teachers:
  • Activities like 10 Minutes with Matt, and the Junior/Senior lunches are critical to maintaining our small school feel.
  • Our PTA/PTSAs do a fantastic job of doing special things for our teachers/staff and are critical partners to continue our culture.
  • The expectations that we have for our students cannot change.This is key.Our students perform well academically and behaviorally because we expect them to.Our expectations cannot change even as our dynamics do.
  • Class sizes are becoming an issue.We need to examine how we allocate resources, including staff, to schools.
    • Our teachers feel supported and valued but not micromanaged.
  • Our principals do a great job of hiring highly effective teachers, and once we hire them, we give them a degree of freedom to design their own work (within reason).
  • Our principals do a great job of supporting our teachers with feedback and training without being invasive and making teachers feel as if they are under surveillance.


Overall, this activity has helped me to better understand our culture, and how it shapes our daily work with children.  I once read that the primary function of leadership is to “create and sustain a culture where others can be successful”.  I am elated to report that this type of culture certainly exists in Walton-Verona.  Our employees love working here, and are very proud to do so.  People are proud to wear clothing with our WV logo.  I have never experienced such pride in an organization, and I am thrilled to be a part of this outstanding district.

Moving forward, I want to offer parents and community members the chance to meet with me on a topic of their choosing.  After Christmas Break, I will be announcing dates for “Mornings with Matt”.   This event will be similar to the “10 Minutes with Matt” activity that I have described in this update.  However, the difference will be that now I will be taking a few minutes on Saturday mornings to meet with any parents or community members who would like to speak with me.  I will post dates/times on our district Facebook page, and parents or community members will have the opportunity to sign up for specific time slots and “make an appointment” to speak with me.  Please stay tuned to our district Facebook page for these dates to be announced in January.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2016 West Corporation. All rights reserved.