Superintendents: The District’s Lead Communicator

Aaron Resendez can talk with the best of them, especially about the McFarland Unified School District.

The Superintendent of the small town district of just under 3,500 students is genuine about his passion for the students and the families that make up the tight-knit agricultural community located two hours north of Los Angeles.

So when a crew of three from San Joaquin Valley Transparency recently stopped by the district offices equipped with cameras inquiring about “What is this place?” Resendez was happy to oblige.

San Joaquin Valley Transparency visits public agencies and reviews their familiarity with the First Amendment. Most agencies freeze, become agitated, and escalate the situation from the other published videos.

It could have been a “gotcha” moment. But not for Resendez.

Resendez flipped the encounter and turned it into an opportunity to share with the public his passion and knowledge for everything McFarland Unified.

For 59 minutes, Resendez gushed about McFarland. But Resendez didn’t talk just to talk. He communicated with purpose. And he did it with four cameras thrust into his face.

Like it or not, Superintendents are their district’s lead communicators setting the tone for communications. Yes, Resendez has all the communications/engagement qualifications outlined in the American Association of School Administrators Professional Standards for Superintendency, but it goes a step further.

Resendez understands what it means to be an effective communicator and is calm, poised, articulate, and passionate. For Resendez, communicating comes naturally, in part because his Why and Messaging are interconnected. He is passionate, raved about the students and staff in the district, and delivers the message in a relatable, down-to-earth manner.

Resendez doesn’t just tell us what they do in McFarland; he also shares why they do it.

As lead communicators, it is essential to remember that you are the face of your district and as such, remember to:

  • Articulate your why
  • Embrace communication
  • Remember communication is a two-way function
  • Keep students at the forefront  

For more information on Superintendent Communication, we recommend Larry Ascough’s The School Superintendent as Lead Communicator three-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). For more tips on how to handle the media, we recommend reading our Command the Camera blog.