Superintendent » Philosophy


Core Belief 

I believe passionately that our schools should be focused on our students and their learning. Student achievement and their growth as learners is our mission and why our schools exist. The role of every adult in our system needs to be aligned to support the work of our teachers and instructional staff in the delivery of high quality instruction for all students.  

The Three “R’s” 

My philosophy aligns well with Dr. Bill Daggett’s work at the International Center for Leadership in Education. In order to engage all of our students in high levels of learning, school district leaders need to support instructional excellence through Rigor, Relevance and Relationships. To me the key component is building a culture of positive relationships across a school system. In my view, the primary job of educational leaders is to develop and foster a district and school culture that supports our front line staff in the core work of our organization. High levels of student learning happen in that interface where adults establish productive relationships with children. There is a lot of wisdom in the statement “they don’t care what you know until they know you care”. 

 Our students will work hard for our teachers when that positive relationship exists but to make the learning meaningful and have staying power, I believe that all of us must work hard to help our students find relevance. We must not only connect the current learning with what has already been learned but also help our students see how this learning will be beneficial in the future. Taking the learning experience and relating it to a problem or situation connected to the world beyond school allows the student to focus on a real audience for a real purpose.  

 There is no question that our world demands more rigor in our educational systems. I firmly believe that our students can all achieve high levels of learning, but it is up to the adults in our schools and communities to create that vision and belief. Administration and teachers must work collaboratively to establish a school culture that fosters open dialogue and professional inquiry that drives up individual student achievement. 

Personal Leadership 

As a leader, I am committed to lifelong learning, encouraging relationships, academic excellence, professional growth, respect, diversity, collaboration, personal responsibility, creativity, work ethic and moral leadership. At the heart of all school communities are the people who make up the organization, each of these individuals are key to the success of the school or school district. I am not nor will be the perfect leader, but I will always stay focused on my values and what I believe is best for the students in our care.  

 It is our shared mission in our schools to make Chewelah the place “Where Dreams Begin”. A place where our students learn to dream big dreams and are provided with the skills and knowledge to make dreams fulfilled. 


-Rich McFarland