Where’s He’s Been, Where He Is, and Where He’s Taking Us
Mr. Benedick talks with The Rocket Flame staff about how life changed a little this summer as he accepted a position as Acting Superintendent, but how his positivity is winning over all of TSD
Remember that smiling face that you’d see lending a helping hand around the school: whether assisting the cafeteria ladies at the lunch line, greeting students at the bus ramp, or just stopping by classes to see how things are going? Are you wondering where he went? Well, now he’s the head honcho of our district, and his work life is completely different than before.
Former James Buchanan High School principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) took the position of Acting Superintendent of the Tuscarora School District on July 1, 2018. As a former student of TSD, Benedick has now worked his way up the educational ladder to now be the superintendent. Picking up where previous superintendents left off, Benedick’s goal is to expand on past ideas in the district along with previous personal experiences.
After growing up with his mom being a substitute teacher, Benedick had no interest in the educational field after high school.
“After I graduated from college, I was working as a retail manager. My first job out of school was a stockbroker. I quit my job after about a month; it was not me.”
Benedick’s personality did not fit in with the cutthroat environment. He then took on a new role as the manager of a a Foot Locker in Richmond, VA, where he was living after college.
“I saw kids all day long at the Foot Locker that were not in school when they should have been in school from crazy, dysfunctional families[…]Then, I started thinking about who keeps track of these kids,” said Benedick.
After being in a different environment than he was used to coming from the small town of Fort Loudon, PA, Benedick started to have a change of perspective on his future.
“I saw a lot of kids in a real quick time period that didn’t have the stuff I had growing up, so, long story short, I went back and got my Master’s in Special Education, because I wanted to help kids that didn’t have what I had at school or growing up,” said Benedick.
After getting a teaching degree and working with special education kids in New York, he spontaneously came back after making a chance decision to move here with no job or living arrangements.
“I guess it was a little bit of luck or right-place, right-time kind of thing,” Benedick said of this decision.
With that little bit of luck, he became the Acting Assistant Principal of James Buchanan High School, his former stomping grounds. He moved up to the position of Acting Principal when the former Principal stepped down.
Due to Benedick’s new position, he had to further his education to become certified to meet the criteria. He spent 15 years as principal of JBHS, but decided to take it one step further. Benedick applied for the position of Superintendent and went through the interview process when he learned of the open position.
¨What I told the Board is that I want to be THIS superintendent, not A superintendent¨ said Benedick.
By being “THIS superintendent,” Benedick wants to be committed to the community and focus on what he will do for the district. Benedick feels that it is substantial to “connect to the community at large.” Due to his familiarity within the public, Benedick is starting off further ahead than his predecessors.
“A goal of mine is to create a positive place for kids to go to school and celebrate the good things that happen,” said Benedick.
Benedick, with his self-described “positive personality,” has made it his mission to create an environment of positivity throughout TSD. He has spent most of his time in the high school during his working career, but as superintendent, he’s trying to spend more time in the elementary schools.
“It is difficult to spend as much time in the buildings as I would like,” said Benedick, but he hopes to spend more time interacting with kids.
Benedick’s day-to-day schedule is filled with meetings and is “more office-based” than it was previously. While Benedick is not interacting directly with students every single day, he’s still making a difference in their world of education due to the decisions he makes every day that help enhance students’ educational experience.
“My favorite part is knowing I do have an impact on even more kids,” Benedick said.
Although Benedick is not in the high school to help out every single school day anymore, he is now helping not only this school, but the rest of the school district, every day back in his office. Whether it is talking to lawyers or communicating with people outside of our district, Benedick is trying to give us a great education and memories to stick with us for the rest of our lives, all while keeping that smile on his face.