Rick Doll hit the books right away on Wednesday during his first day as leader of the Lawrence public school system.
First things first, he moved into his office. Well, sort of.
“I’m not going to attempt to decorate the office until my wife gets here and puts her touches on it,” Doll said with a smile.
He had a few meetings during the day and capped off the start of his tenure with an organizational school board meeting.
“We really have some fairly meaty issues that we’re dealing with,” Doll said. “If there’s anything I’m a little nervous about, it’s getting through that first meeting.”
Although Doll has been spending time in the district since he was hired in March, the real work can now begin. His major issues include closing the achievement gap, accomplishing everything on a shrinking budget and reassessing school boundaries.
“I know that the board will be asking me to put some time and energy into whether we want to stay with our present configuration of schools or whether we want to change,” Doll said.
But his first priority is keeping academic achievement high.
“I think we have to continually think about how we increase academic achievement,” Doll said. “I believe that we also need to start thinking more broadly about what academic achievement is.”
Doll says he has big shoes to fill, but noticed the community is ready for him to take over.
“Randy (Weseman, the retired superintendent) just did an excellent job,” Doll said. “And yet, it’s almost like, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’”
Doll was hired in March after Weseman announced his retirement. Doll’s last job was leading the Louisburg school district in Louisburg, Kan. The 55-year-old has been in education for more than 30 years.