"Me in the Making:
One Man’s Journey to Becoming
a School Superintendent"
by Fadhilika Atiba-Weza
Troy, New York
Me in the Making: One Man’s Journey to Becoming a School Superintendent
By Walter Milton, Jr, Ed.D.
Flint, MI: Honeycomb Publishing, Inc., 2007, 168 pages
Walter Milton is a a very busy man as the Superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, Illinois. Yet, he has found the time to author a book which traces his path from the inner city of Rochester, New York to his present position. Milton, who is in his third superintendency, takes us through his early years for which he credits his parents, especially his father for having prepared him to face the trials of life’s journey. He shares several vignettes relating to issues of racial pride and religious groundings. He often intersperses biblical quotations with educational jargon in order to illustrate his points.
Based on the title, Me in the Making: One Man’s Journey to Becoming a School Superintendent, readers may expect an autobiographical treatise, but this work is more than that. It is not a guide to the superintendency, as the title may imply. It is, however, Milton’s exhortations about the virtue of a good education, his praises for his mentors and family, his trials and his triumphs. Along the way, he shares some of the highlights of his career. Milton’s career is highlighted with a series of firsts. He was the first African -American teacher in the two districts in which he taught. The irony of this is that Milton states that he was recruited to those districts after having unsuccessfully sought employment in the neighboring “Black” districts. His disappointment turned to joy, however, as he discovered that one does not have to teach in a “Black” district in order to teach “our children.”
In tracing his path to the superintendency, Milton credits his success to the role of his mentors, his faith in his God, the support of his family - especially his wife - and the support network of his “sisters and brothers.” He sees his current district, in which he is the first African American and youngest superintendent as the capstone of a career of excellence. Following his tenures in Fallsburg, New York, and Flint, Michigan, he feels that he is prepared to assume any leadership position in the field of education. Springfield, as he sees it, is a departure from the madness of Flint and the isolation and insularity of Fallsburg.
Approximately one-third of the book is comprised of Milton’s “Educational Leadership Resources.” These resources are comprised of his superintendent’s entry plan, a strategy that he developed and implemented upon assuming the superintendency in each of the three school districts in which he has worked, and a literature review on parental involvement. Although it is not written in the vernacular of a dissertation, it has some resemblance to such. In addition, this section is subdivided into units which address the various facets and advantages of parental involvement.
Me in the Making is indeed one man's journey to becoming a school superintendent. It provides an easy read and aspiring superintendents would benefit from reading it.
Published in In Motion Magazine November 9, 2008.
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