‘Talking Out of School’ podcast: What it’s like being a new superintendent in 2024

In this episode, we sit down with Denise Watts, superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools in Georgia, to learn how her first year as a superintendent is going and what it takes to thrive as a new district leader.

In 2023, Denise Watts was “looking for a marriage.” Not in the literal sense, but professionally. She was looking for a place to call home. Somewhere where she could plant her feet and inspire transformation in the hopes of elevating the next generation of students. It was in the summer of 2023 that she would stumble across Savannah, Ga., where she would begin her journey as the superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools in June 2023, her first superintendent job ever.

“It took me more than 20 years to figure out that this was even a role I’d be interested in pursuing,” says Watts. “For many years I had convinced myself that I didn’t want to be a superintendent.”

Within the last year, obviously, her thoughts had changed. But Watts didn’t simply want to be a superintendent. She wanted to lead in a place where she “matched.”

In this episode of “Talking Out of School,” District Administration’s Micah Ward and Matt Zalaznick sit down with Watts to discuss what it’s like being a new superintendent in 2024. At a time when superintendent turnover is at an all-time high, she describes why it’s an exciting time for new leaders like herself who are standing on the heels of giants.

You can listen to this episode at any time on Spotify, Podbean or down below.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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