2020-2021 Superintendents to Watch: Dr. Anthony Lewis

Dr. Anthony Lewis

Dr. Anthony Lewis

Superintendent of Schools
Lawrence (Kan.) Public Schools

Twitter: @draslewis @usd497


What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is about being able to follow before you lead. In essence, leadership means empowering people to understand the vision and getting them to do whatever it takes to achieve that vision.

How have you integrated communication into your district’s strategic plan?

When I joined the Lawrence Public Schools, I presented my Entry Plan to the school board. It lived on the district website, where it was updated regularly. Transparency is huge for me. I also shared my weekly calendar with district staff. In the plan, I explained that I would spend my first 100 days asking questions as well as  listening and learning to understand the full story of Lawrence Public Schools. 

The Listening and Learning Tour, which consisted of six public input sessions held across the community, attracted over 500 attendees. Additionally, we collected close to 800 online feedback forms. Next, I invited students, teachers, administrative  staff, the school board, parents and community representatives to a Design Team meeting to review the data analysis and discuss priority student outcomes. All of this feedback helped to develop and finalize our five-year strategic plan.

What communication initiative are you most proud of that have you implemented in your district?

The work done with my Entry Plan outlining my first 100 days and the Listening and Learning Tour. I have an amazing communications team!

What communication tool  do you enjoy using the most in your profession? Why?

I always prefer face-to-face engagement, but I also use Twitter, Facebook, Let's Talk (K-12 Insight), School Messenger and videos.

How have you used social media in your strategic communication efforts?

I go where our stakeholders are. Many of the adults are on Twitter and Facebook, so I share student-centered posts, articles and what I'm doing on those platforms. I know most of my students are on Snapchat, so I have a Superintendent's Snapchat page that I use to share information with students. It really comes in handy when I need students' input. I can post a quick question and get some immediate feedback from my students on a direction we may want to go.