2020-2021 Superintendents to Watch: Ted Stec

Dr. Ian Saltzman

Ted Stec 

Lombard (Ill.) School District 44
Twitter: @tweetsfrom44


What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means listening with true intent of understanding. It is so important that we have open communication and dialogue with our stakeholders, as their perspectives fundamentally shape the work we do. This is at the core of servant leadership; providing and answering to the needs of our individual communities. Leadership has nothing to do with a title. Instead, leadership is when you courageously represent critical needs, which, in our world, should be the needs of our students. It is important that you know who people are based on their names and strengths,  far more than their names and where they fall on an organizational chart.

How have you integrated communication into your district’s strategic plan?
Communication is at the cornerstone of our strategic plan. Each component of our strategic plan is linked to a specific communications goal, recognizing that all of what we do must be supported by strong communications. We do not look at communications in isolation of what we do; instead it is part of everything that we do. After our strategic plan was adopted, we developed a four-year communications plan that has led to significant improvements in our communication and the integration of many strategies to enhance our internal and external efforts.

What communication initiative are you most proud of that have you implemented in your district?
The launch of our strategic plan was certainly something we all take great pride in. We launched our own communication campaign to promote every component of the strategic planning process. Once it was time to adopt the final plan, we had generated an incredible amount of support because of our communication and outreach efforts.

What communication tool do you enjoy using the most in your profession? Why?
I enjoy face-to-face communication  the most. While the use of technology is important, it does always allow that human element to come through, and we need that — we need to really understand that and feel that. Face-to-face connections, to me, allows this to come forward in a productive and more understood way.

How have you used social media in your strategic communication efforts?
We launched specific social media campaigns to generate attention to our accounts when they were first established. We also heavily rely on social media when sharing updates, particularly during this time of COVID-19. We have a very active Twitter and Facebook presence, and we heavily utilize our YouTube channel when pushing out communications.