Leading in Times of Challenge with Dr. Brad Buck
Dr. Brad Buck began his career as a seventh-grade science teacher before becoming director at the Iowa Department of Education, as well as past superintendent of both Saydel Community School District and Cedar Rapids Community School District. In his most current role as superintendent at Waukee Community School District, Dr. Buck is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, including remote learning and more.
Dr. Brad Buck Leadership Tips
Dr. Buck says that the COVID-19 situation has had a huge impact on the educational system, students and families. Once it became clear the students and staff would not be coming back to school in person, many questions arose for leadership — from technology available to plans for in-building staff such as food workers and custodians — that needed quick, but thoughtful answers. District leadership met on Zoom to discuss what needed to be done immediately. Buck says that leadership engaged their teams and collaborated in an intentional way in order to not waste time or resources. While the COVID-19 crisis was something completely new for leadership to navigate, if they started down a path and discovered it wasn’t right, they quickly pivoted to something else.
In his first high-level position, Dr. Buck found that structures and frameworks matter. If you have an exceptional framework and capable people within it, it’s amazing what you can do. The value of a framework — to identify what you want to accomplish — and authenticity cannot be overstated. During community town halls at the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Buck acknowledged that under stress people aren’t always the best version of themselves. Just by stating that issue up front, he saw a positive impact.
During this challenging time, Dr. Buck says it’s important to take a little bit of time each day for yourself. For him, that means going for a walk, watching a little TV, enjoying a sports game and making an effort to reconnect with family.
Listen to the entire podcast here.
The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.