Value adders and Education

The other day I came across a study that looked to answer the question: what impact does a school district superintendent have on student performance measures (test scores)? Being married to a public school teacher my interest heightened.
So what did they find: Hiring a new superintendent has NO IMPACT on student test scores. Let me say that again…no impact. What? This is the highest paid person and the top of the organizational chart…how can they have zero impact?
The answer all ties into defining who the “value adders” are. The value adders are those people in the company who actually create value for the customer (value meaning what the customer would be willing to pay for). So who adds value in education? Yep, the teacher. The superintendent can’t really be blamed; they are so far removed from the classroom that their presence (or absence) doesn’t matter at the individual student level. As a parent, the decision of who is hired as superintendent has literally no impact on your child’s education.
In the view of Lean Six Sigma there are only two jobs in every company, those who add value to the customer and those who support those who add value. Period, dot.
I’m not saying the upper echelon people are not necessary; they have very important roles concerning strategic direction, looking for future opportunities and exceptional support to the value adders. In Lean organizations managers and executives spend a significant portion of their time in the Gemba (place of actual work). In education the Gemba is the classroom, where is your Gemba?
My suggestion is everyone hug a teacher this week…I know I will. 🙂