1.3 2015 Superintendent of the Year Finalist Michael Lubelfeld

     Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D, is Superintendent of Schools for Deerfield Public Schools -¬ District 109 in Deerfield, Illinois.
     Deerfield Public #109 is a high-achieving school district that serves approximately 3,100 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade across four elementary and two middle schools.   Michael Lubelfeld holds the official title of Chief Educational Officer of this Lake County, Illinois school district.
     The foundation for Dr. Lubelfeld’s personal philosophy is the firm belief that “young people are our windows to the future.”  He says, “Working with them has given me a unique vantage point to assess their goals, needs and abilities.  I have been and I remain committed to preparing our young citizens, and those who teach and support them, for their futures – and ours.”

     His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts  in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago; a Master of Arts in Teaching and Educational Specialist (Ed.S) in Administration and Supervision from National-Louis University.  He earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D) in Curriculum and Instruction at Loyola University of Chicago.
     While Dr. Lubelfeld joined Deerfield Public School #109 in 2013 as its Superintendent of Schools, he previously served Pennoyer School District #79 for three years as its superintendent. His various public administrative experiences include assistant superintendent for personnel services, principal, associate principal, and social sciences coordinator.  Dr. Lubelfield began his career as a middle school social science teacher.  
     In addition to heading Deerfield Public Schools, Dr. Lubelfeld is a well-respected instructor of graduate students in the principal/administrator preparation program in the Educational Leadership Department for the National-Louis University.
     Dr. Lubelfeld is not only committed to the children attending Deerfield Public Schools and the graduate students he teaches at the National-Louis University, he is an innovator tapping into today’s resources for the benefit his profession. He discovered Twitter to be full of relevant, timely, and inspiring professional development, and he is one of the co-founders of a monthly Twitter chat for superintendents.  Since October of 2014 they have been conducting #suptchats at 7:00 p.m. Central Time the 7th of each month. Theeducational chat is like a one hour conference call, meeting, or symposium, and all that is necessary is a Twitter account, an hour of time, and an open mind about digital professional learning. Twitter users are encouraged to follow him at @mikelubelfeld and search hashtag #suptchat.


AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL LIBELFELD

How do you see today’s superintendent?

     Today’s superintendent is a facilitator and developer of leaders. He or she is a relationship builder with exemplary listening skills. He or she is keenly aware of the power of communication and technology tools in life and in education. Today’s superintendent is a leader of a changing enterprise - education is undergoing the most profound and transformative change today. Today’s superintendent is a connector - a connector internally and a connector externally. He/she must know and be able to translate the community’s mission and vision and be able to politically and instructionally map out the path for success for all students. Today’s superintendent is well read, active, visible, balanced, and focused on what’s best for all students. I see today’s superintendent as a connected educator.

     Note:  A colleague and friend of mine and I reinvigorated connected superintendents via a Twitter chat called #suptchat.  I'm amazed at the amount of incredible bloggers and tweeters and leaders I have "interacted" with online and in person.  I connect with and through Twitter for the amazing leaders who are sharing information and collaborating and demonstrating and illustrating leadership across state lines and international boundaries

What new understandings or insights did you acquire after two or three years on the job?

     I’m learning every day and I hope to improve every day!  After two or three years on the job I gained insights into the power and value of a solid Board/Superintendent relationship. So many relationships are key for any leader, including a school superintendent. After serving as superintendent for a few years I have learned that the relationship with his/her board is essential for student success, staff growth, district/organization sustainability and superintendent effective ess. Students today will be competing for jobs that do not exist. Students today will be connecting in ways that generations of senior leadership do not understand.  It is incumbent upon senior level leadership to connect, to open up, to model, to essential lead in a culture of connectivity.  It is therefore essential for the superintendent to have an honest, trusting, open, professionally supportive relationship with the Board of Education in order to lead.

Please share an idea to use or something you’ve learned that might be helpful to a new superintendent.

     One idea I can share is for a new superintendent to connect with other leaders as soon as possible. There is so much value and power in connections and professional networking. Typically, superintendents lead so that others in the organization may benefit. I posit that through and from connectivity greater generative synergy produces results at the highest levels of quality on behalf of adult and child learning. Connectivity takes many forms, from the traditional to the digital. In my experiences as school superintendent, children learn more and adults work harder when they see/feel/hear the value of a connected culture for all aspects of the school system from the superintendent of schools. It is also needed, in my professional opinion, to support “from the top” leadership and culture creation especially in today’s era of immediate connectivity as well as long lasting digital footprints.