Leadership Award — Midsize Companies

Regular campus visits enhance communications
by Paula Burkes Published: December 15, 2013

Q&A with Dr. Greg Winters, superintendent, Canadian Valley Technology Center

Q. How do you keep employees in the loop?

A. There are three key ways that I keep employees connected. Each month, I host what we at Canadian Valley call an employee information meeting at each of our three campuses. This is always after our monthly board of education meetings. I close each of those information meetings the same way by asking the group, “Do any of you have questions for me?” Sometimes that leads to colorful discussions. Secondly, we have a monthly employee newsletter that provides district administrators on a rotating basis the opportunity to share what is on their minds and things that are forthcoming at Canadian Valley. This provides district-wide awareness, and it empowers my staff to be good leaders. Finally, we have weekly faculty meetings that provide key two-way feedback with all of our instructional staff.

Q. How do you listen to employees?

A. I've never been one to just sit in my office. I regularly go out and talk to people of all stratums at every campus and make myself available. I feel as though I've got a great relationship with employees. At the end of the day, people have a respect for those who don't think they're better than anyone else. I spend a lot of time in the classrooms. Recently, I hosted five superintendents from around the state and gave them a personal tour of one of our campuses. Without exception, a lot of the students greeted me as we walked through. After about five or six of those instances, Marty Lewis, who is superintendent at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, said, “Greg, it appears to me you get out a lot.” I think you take a personal interest in people. A lot of that is my upbringing. I grew up a country boy in southwest Oklahoma.

Q. How do you appreciate employees?

A. I recognize accomplishments publicly in meetings, and I encourage other administrators and supervisors to do the same. I am so proud of everybody who works so hard, and they make a difference every day. You just feel it in your heart that you have a good staff. You go through something like the tornado that we did last summer, and you change your thought process when you realize you have a great staff. We could not have gone through what we did with a good staff, but we got through it like we did with a great staff. The tornado affected all of us. Obviously, the El Reno staff was displaced. That meant that our Dr. Earl Cowan Campus staff had to put up with a lot of unplanned guests. More than once, Chickasha staff prepared meals for those from the El Reno Campus, and they have been a constant source of encouragement. When you're put in the circumstances and dire straits that we were, you would think most people would rise to the occasion. I hope nobody has to experience anything like that. What we had to go through was almost incomprehensible. The other thing that would have made it worse would have been loss of life. And we're fortunate that nobody on campus that evening was injured.

by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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