Huntington Schools on the Move
A change in command at the top of any large organization typically produces a burst of energy and a flood of new ideas. Case in point: James W. Polansky, who took over on July 1 as superintendent of the Huntington School District.
Mr. Polansky is not one to sit back and idly observe. Of course, there has been a fair amount of listening and note-taking over the past four weeks, as the seasoned administrator studies and analyzes every aspect of district operations. But, that only tells a small part of the tale.
"We are moving forward in every area," Mr. Polansky said last week. He arrives at his office early in the morning and stays well into the evening hours, even now in the dog days of summer.
"There's a lot of work to do," Mr. Polansky said. "I like to be involved in everything." He's met with all seven of the district's principals, its directors and chairpersons and other key figures, including PTA Council President Bari Fehrs. Daily meetings with his central office team have kept everyone working on the same page.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Polansky has served in a variety of roles, including science teacher and director of science, athletic coach and club advisor, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent. He is known to soak up information and file it away, ready for recall and application whenever a situation requires it.
No aspect of district operations has escaped Mr. Polansky's attention in his first month on the job, from budget issues and fiscal trends to course curriculums, student handbooks and Huntington's transportation guide.
Mr. Polansky is planning to bring together all district employees in the Huntington High School auditorium on Tuesday, September 6, the day before students report to classes to kickoff the 2011/12 school year. It will mark the first convocation held in the district in several years.
Meetings have been scheduled with parents of incoming kindergarten and first grade students, as well as those of the Class of 2012. The sessions, which have already begun, are expected to stretch well into the fall. "The meetings provide an opportunity to learn about the experiences and expectations of parents and students," Mr. Polansky said.
To say he has hit the ground running is an understatement. Mr. Polansky seems to be in perpetual motion. Visitors to his office quickly realize he is a Yankees fan and proud husband and father as pictures of his wife and children are displayed on his desk and counter space. The office is a daily hotbed of activity and that suits the superintendent just fine.
At the top of Mr. Polansky's "things to do" list is devising strategies to improve student academic performance on every grade level. As a veteran classroom teacher and building administrator, he has very definite ideas about how to go about lifting the district's overall standing.
"This is a great community," Mr. Polansky said. "It's exciting taking on a new challenge."