Stuart Gibson quotes former Superintendent Robert Spillane

Fairfax County School Board member Stuart Gibson told readers of the Reston Patch that a former superintendent used to have a sign on his desk that said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  via Whatever Happened to ‘The Main Thing?’ – Reston, VA Patch.

I commented that this superintendent, Robert Spillane, also tried several times to convince the school board to allow elementary school students to have a full day of school on Mondays. That really is the main thing!

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2 Comments on “Stuart Gibson quotes former Superintendent Robert Spillane”

  1. pommefrites says:

    Good one! If only Mr. Gibson would recognize that the main thing is what helps student achievement (such as meeting the minimal state requirements for elementary school hours) rather than bureaucratic convenience.

  2. Your comment about “bureaucratic convenience” reminds me of a column written Judy Mann who said, “My vote for school superintendent of the year goes to Robert R. Spillane, the head of the Fairfax County schools, who has made a bold–and long–overdue–move toward recognizing that nearly three-quarters of the women who live in Fairfax County work outside the home.” (Washington Post, June 7, 1989, pg. B3).
    She also quoted Sam Sava, then the executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, who pointed out that other school systems use “substitutes or aides that provide teachers free time for planning purposes rather than closing school.”
    Mann also said…”Spillane would do well to frame this move in a context all too often lost in educational debates: Namely, that school systems exist to meet the needs of children, and not, as Sava puts it, “to maintain bureaucracies.”


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