2017 Kick Off Event Pumps Up CCSD Leadership for New School Year; Atlanta Braves’ John Schuerholz Motivates CCSD Leadership

Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale welcomes MLB Hall of Famer and Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz to the district’s Leadership Kick Off Event at McEachern High School July 13.

Before teachers return to the schools, before students pick out new book bags and before the school bell rings again, Cobb County School District (CCSD) leadership start drawing the roadmap for a successful new school year.

During the annual Leadership Kick Off event July 13, MLB Hall of Famer John Schuerholz inspired CCSD leaders by outlining the tactics he used to build the Atlanta Braves into a winning baseball team.

A former teacher himself, Schuerholz emphasized the importance of selecting good team members and then honoring, trusting, empowering, and preparing them for success.

“Each of us in this room, not only have a responsibility to create, promote, and strengthen our team by our actions, our words, and our attitudes,” the baseball executive advised.

When CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale spoke, he echoed Schuerholz and encouraged school leaders to not only pick winning team members, but also remember to show appreciation for the roles they play in improving student success on a continual basis.

“Our team will be successful as long as we don’t take our eye off the ball and forget about the people doing the job,” Superintendent Ragsdale told the school leaders gathered at McEachern High School.

Setting high goals is one of the main ways Schuerholz transformed the Atlanta Braves into World Series Champions. Encouraging the educators to aim high, he shared the words of wisdom he told Braves team members: “better to aim for perfection and miss, than aim for imperfection and hit it.”

After Schuerholz joined the Atlanta Braves, the team’s goal was not to merely work harder or make improvements. It was to become world champs. Underlining the importance of goals to the educators, he quoted writer Thomas Carlyle, “A man without goals is like a ship without a rudder.”

Playing off Schuerholz’s focus on goals, Superintendent Ragsdale told the leaders to stay the course and to not lose sight of the district’s goals for student success.

“We can’t lose our momentum,” Superintendent Ragsdale added. “We have great momentum right now.”

CCSD’s mission of One Team, One Goal: Student Success, includes the same one-word focus that Schuerholz used to transform the Atlanta Braves—team.

“I strongly believe that one of the key ingredients to building a winning team effort is creating and enhancing the team concept, whether it is baseball or teaching,” the baseball Hall of Famer said.

Schuerholz told the educators to show enthusiasm and to convey leadership traits like unwavering courage, pride, self-control, competitiveness, and a keen sense of justice.

“Our most effective and important tool as leaders is to communicate,” explained Schuerholz, who is also the father of a CCSD teacher. “We must articulate and communicate a team-orientated winning attitude.”

One of Schuerholz’s pieces of advice applied to students, teachers and school leaders.

“The glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall,” Schuerholz said.

After his inspiring account, the baseball executive invited the educators to ask him questions. Some did, but one assistant principal from Griffin Middle School stood up to thank Schuerholz for writing a letter to her 95-year-old mother, who was a huge baseball fan. Dr. Candace English wrote Schuerholz a letter asking him to wish her mother a happy birthday and was excited when he did. Leadership Kick Off gave her the opportunity to thank the baseball Hall of Famer for putting a smile on her mother’s face.

Another member of the Atlanta Braves team capped off the Leadership Kick Off event. Opera singer Timothy Miller honored the leaders with his rendition of “God Bless America,” which he famously sings at the baseball team’s home games.

CCSD teachers will gather for a district-wide pep rally on July 24 to kick off the new school year. That event at McEachern High School will be broadcast to schools throughout the district.