Chad Benson, the superintendent at Hankinson Public School, has taught in many ways and at different levels, but knew it was for him from early on… when he was a high school lifeguard teaching swimming lessons to be exact!
Over the past 24 years, Benson would teach, coach and lead through his roles as a substitute teacher, junior high football coach, freshmen boys basketball coach, varsity golf coach, varsity girls basketball coach, 3rd-grade teacher, 5th-grade teacher, 6th-grade teacher and high school principal. This all led him to his current position of superintendent which he’s held for the last seven years in Hankinson.
With 251 students enrolled K-12 Benson has a strong support system built into the district and says, “We have a caring and dedicated staff who work together to give our students the best possible education.”
With a mission that states, “Empowering Success: Every Student, Every Opportunity, Every Day,” you can tell that a culture has been created and every employee, student, parents, community members have input on the success of education in their district.
Benson knows the highs and lows that can happen when you’ve been in a career for many years including things like budget reductions and cutting positions. He was impacted by this and cut from two positions in his career. But, this didn’t turn him away from education, it inspired him.
“I had been teaching for 10 years and had been cut from two positions for budget purposes and I felt that I could do something that could change the course of budget reductions for the better compared to what was happening to me,” he says.
As we’ve moved down the road and Benson has developed in his role, Hankinson is looking at wrapping up its five-year cycle of school improvement through AdvancED.
“It has been a lot of work with many changes to the process along the way so we are looking forward to the finish line of this cycle. Our AdvancED guiding committee attended many training opportunities and help multiple meetings to guide our district through the process and did a phenomenal job. With the help of staff, board members and patrons we look in the mirror to make our school district a better place.”
A little advice from one educator to another on behalf of Superintendent Benson.
“Teachers: focus on what is best for the kids you teach and you will do great. Administrators: focus on what is best for the kids, it is impossible to make everyone happy or like you, you will make students, staff, and parents mad just by doing what is right.”