Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ten Questions with York County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Victor Shandor

(Photo cred: YCSD)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Dr. Victor Shandor.

What is your job title and description?

Division Superintendent — York County School Division (YCSD). I am responsible for the direction, leadership, and coordination of students and staff in their efforts to reach educational priorities adopted by the school board. As the division’s chief executive officer, the school board has entrusted me with the full authority for the day-to-day administrative management of all financial, operational, instructional, and human resource matters. In accordance with policy, this means the school board expects me to provide leadership in: decision-making; communication; planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating educational programs; and developing and maintaining close working relationships and channels of communication within the school system and community.

Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?

Most of my daily/weekly interactions are with our chief officers (finance, human resources, academics, operations), members of the division’s executive leadership team, and principals. I visit schools regularly, interacting with teachers and staff. Additionally, I collaborate with Mr. Morgan, the county administrator, often and as I report to the school board, I am interacting with the five of them daily, in the evenings and on weekends.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

Community and family engagement is a priority for the school division. Since becoming superintendent in 2014, it’s been important to me to be active in the community. Having school-aged children has been one advantage in that aspect. Attending school and community events such as soccer, basketball, volleyball and swim activities, plays and performances give me a chance to speak with families directly and gain their perspectives. We also have a number of advisory groups which include staff, families, community members and students.

(Photo cred: YCSD)

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

I am involved in every aspect of the schools operating every day. Additionally, that my role in the community is a 24-hour-a-day-seven-days-a-week role. My connection with the county staff, fire and life safety, the York Poquoson Sherriff’s office is extremely important to the community.

How do you define success?

Continuous improvement in every area! Our team tracks multiple metrics not just at the division level, but drilling down to our individual schools. We know that students who are connected to their schools have a higher chance of achieving their goals. Meaning extra-curricular activities — sports, band, club memberships — or they have a connection with an adult in the building.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

While I could speak to major events such as the Grafton Complex fire and having to plan for a school being inoperable for months, or navigating the impacts of COVID-19, I am truly most proud of our division’s culture. My first months as superintendent, I met with staff in every department and school. Through their lenses, we focused on developing and sustaining learning and working environment in which students and staff not only feel valued and supported, but in which they believe their voices are heard and matter. When we are making decisions, we always ask ourselves the question — “what’s best for our students?”

(photo cred: YCSD)

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

This Nov. 3 will be the beginning of my 10th year living here and serving as superintendent.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

Access to so many different experiences. We love Busch Gardens, Water Country, Museums, and the beach being close.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

I thoroughly enjoy spending time with family. My wife Melissa and I enjoy attending and supporting our three children in all their activities (athletics, theater performances). We also enjoy traveling to New York or Pennsylvania to visit our families. Traveling overseas has been probably the best experiences and opportunities to fully disconnect.

What is the next step in your journey?

I have really enjoyed my experiences in YCSD. I have the opportunity to work with so many amazing people. The difference our teachers and staff make on a daily basis in the lives of young people is really inspiring. I am enjoying my 29th year in public education and look forward to the next few years.

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