2020-2021 Superintendents to Watch-Dr. Christopher Fuzessy

Dr. Christopher Fuzessy,

Dr. Christopher Fuzessy
Foothills School Division
 Alberta, Canada

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means many things to me, including the following: 

  •  Empowering others to take on leadership roles. It means creating the conditions for everyone to feel safe to express their ideas, implement them and iterate.
  • Developing and modeling a shared purpose for the organization that enables the team to feel part of something worthwhile and attainable. 
  • Communicating effectively and widely so that everyone has the information they need to do their best every day. It means beginning with gratitude and modeling this for the team. 
  • Being present across the Division to understand both the challenges and successes that take place every day. It means providing voice and acting upon that voice. 
  • Contributing to and modeling continuous improvement for the system. 
  • Committing to and modeling wellness and well being alongside the team. 
  • It means every student and team member in the system is a leader and can contribute positively to the whole.

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

We have built  engagement as part of our Division purpose statement. This has also allowed us to design a strategic plan around engagement at a Division level, as well as at the school level. Communication is key to effective engagement with students, staff and community, and this is reflected within the strategic plans both locally and across the Division. We value voice, seek out voice and build voice into our decision making as part of the way we operate as a Division.

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

This is difficult as there are a multiplicity of tools involved in any one communication. Videos are posted on the website as well as social media. Engagement platforms are also available and accessible through several entry points. I suppose it is the alignment of messaging on a variety of platforms as well as the communications protocols we have developed that allow for consistency of message and reaching all possible audiences that enables us to keep our community and staff team up to date and involved - this makes me proud on behalf of the organization.

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

Producing videos and making them available to our staff team and community is likely the most enjoyable communication tool from my perspective. The videotaping itself is not the key here, but rather a collaborative process we engage in to develop the message with our Executive team, and also the authenticity that people comment upon when they view the videos. The message is received differently from a first person standpoint, and it places a face upon the organization that is accessible to the community and staff team. That message can convey empathy, enthusiasm, motivation, etc. depending upon the purpose of the message.