Inside the Cabinet Meeting

A Newsletter from Dr. Jim Largent - Issue 4 - September 2020

A view of administrative decision-making from a retired superintendent’s no-nonsense filter.

Big picture
Big picture

In public facilities, HVAC systems help maintain healthy indoor environments through ventilation with filtration, air exchange, and building pressurization. Unfortunately, per the EPA, indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.

Using a little-known technology called bipolar ionization that has been around for years, HVAC systems can be properly equipped to reduce the airborne concentration of COVID-19 and help reduce the risk of virus transmission. If you are an E3 customer, you may already have this technology installed in your system.

E3 encourages clients to have their HVAC systems evaluated and potentially install bipolar ionization equipment, a cost-effective solution that has been independently tested to be 99.4% effective at reducing COVID-19 and many other pathogens.

Contact me at and I will have someone from E3 contact you to perform a no-cost, comprehensive review of your facilities’ HVAC systems to analyze indoor air quality and offer appropriate recommendations and corrective measures. To read more in-depth information on the subject: More information may be found here.

Big picture

Anyone Can Steer the Ship When Seas Are Calm

One of my favorite sayings is, “Anyone can steer the ship when seas are calm.” I think 2020 is making that saying come true. In school leadership, we deal with armchair quarterbacks all the time, but in serious times like these, true leadership comes to the surface!

This year, we have had an almost daily wave of directives, opinions, procedures, mandates, etc. from people in Washington, Austin, counties, and cities. Since this current health pandemic with Covid 19 has also become a political football, the messages we have been getting are many times skewed based on politics and not science in an effort to pass the buck or not upset ones’ political base. This puts leaders in a precarious position. Throw a hurricane or two in the mix and you have even more planning and decisions to make...

My advice to all of you is to lead based on the best information you have from experts in your area, your leadership team, community leaders, and what you collectively agree is best for the kids in your school. What may be a great decision in Dallas may not be the right one in Dumas. What works in Texarkana may not work in Tuscola. You get the picture. Texas is a unique state and there is not one “right” way to do things in all our schools. You have to tweak your decisions to fit your school, your kids and your community.

The last thing I will say to you is to not wait around to be told what to do by some outside entity. If they won’t make a decision, you have to! I see too many leaders and school board members say, “let’s just wait until the legislature meets” or “wait until TEA tells us what to do.” I think that is the wrong strategy. You are the expert in your community and people are looking to YOU to lead. Get the best information you can, and make the best decision you can for the students and staff in your school. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do. One last thing to Attorney General opinion is just that--an opinion!

Big picture

So, you have an interview at a school looking for a new superintendent. Here are some things to consider while in the room with the board.

Less is more. Please don’t tell the board everything you know about every question they ask you. One of the things I have seen turn a board off is when a candidate wants to give a sermon on every question. My advice? Be succinct and to the point. Answer questions with confidence and tell the board members that you are happy to elaborate on any question if they want more information. They will appreciate this approach.

Do your homework. School board members want to know what you can do to help their kids and their school. They are much less interested in all your accolades and awards, plus they should have already seen them on your resume. Come into an interview with a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their district and with some initial 30-60-90 day plans on how you will transition into the district. Board members are very impressed when you can tell them something about their school that they may not know. Do your homework and spend more time talking about them than you!

Don’t price yourself out of the market. Getting a superintendent’s job is hard! It is very competitive and lots of people apply for these jobs. If you are a serious contender for a job, understand that you may not get a 50K raise, and depending on your current school and position, you may not get a raise at all. You may have to decide what is more important at this point in your career--position or salary? Be realistic when talking about salary with the board and/or consultant. Know what the market is for the area and consider your own experience, etc. Most boards want to be fair with their new superintendent, but don’t make money a point of contention from the start.


Big picture

Dr. Jim Largent

Largent Consulting LLC


PO Box 1024

Granbury TX. 76048