New Twin Falls Superintendent Says He’s Ready to Take the Reins
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – After more than two decades with the Twin Falls School District, Dr. Brady Dickinson is ready to take the reins.
Dickinson, who currently works as the district’s operations manager, will begin transitioning into his new post as district superintendent starting July 1. Next to him for the first two months will be outgoing superintendent Wiley Dobbs, whose last day with the district will be Aug. 31.
“I know I have big shoes to fill,” Dickinson said during a recent interview in his office.
Dobbs will help him transition into his new post, but come Sept. 1 Dickinson will be on his own. Not literally, of course. He’ll have some 1,250 district employees behind him.
Dickinson says he is pleased with the district’s accomplishments over the years, but he says he is not the kind of person who is satisfied with the status quo and is eager to try new things. He wants the district and its schools to get even better than they are today.
Some of the things on his agenda include upgrading technology in older schools, bringing more focus to career topics for high school students, and “taking a hard look at math achievement.” He says all three – technology, career choices, and math – are important to a successful educational experience.
Dickinson found success in his own education and career. He grew up in northern Idaho, graduated from Lakeland High School in Rathdrum, and attended the University of Idaho, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 1995 and 2007, respectively. He received a PhD in 2016 from Northwest Nazarene University.
When he first came to Twin Falls he didn’t expect to stay long. He started his career with the district at Robert Stuart Middle School in 1995, where he taught social studies and later became the school’s athletic director and principal; but he wasn’t here long before he fell in love with the area.
When an opening for principal came about at Canyon Ridge High School, he debated on whether to apply for it.
“I didn’t think I had enough experience to get the job,” he said, noting he was both surprised and grateful when the job offer came.
Dickinson served as CRHS principal from the time the school opened in 2009 until 2013, when he was offered his current job of director or operations. Opening the high school, and being principal for its first five years, was one of the highlights of his career.
Something he learned: When a new school opens the principal and staff can either help the school develop its identity – which is the better option – or it’ll do it on its own.
This year marks 22 years Dickinson has been with the district. As its new super, he’ll get to open a new middle school – South Hills Middle School – in August.
He says one of his greatest strengths is the ability to build teams, bringing people together to find solutions to problems. He appreciates what he’s learned from his predecessor about making people feel important, their contributions welcome, even if they have opposing views.
“I’ve always been impressed with how Wiley takes the opportunity to listen and not just speak,” Dickinson said, noting that he’s watched Dobbs take time making some decisions, analyzing the different options and outcomes.
Dickinson said he wants to get in front of people and be an involved leader in the community. Following Dobbs's example, he doesn’t want to make hasty decisions in his role as superintendent – unless, of course, a hasty decision has to be made.
Those who work with Dickinson say he already has similar traits.
He "is the type of leader who balances many projects and still makes time to support his coworkers. His door is always open to provide guidance and feedback," said district Director of Public Relations Eva Craner.
"Dr. Dickinson often deals with projects and decisions where input from the community would add to the process." He "takes the time to gather input, listens to all concerns, and evaluates that feedback prior to making decisions, even though doing so is added work and time."
Dickinson said he also wants to get out from behind the desk and district office and be a face among the students.
He and his wife, Holly, have two children at home, one a junior high school student involved with wrestling. He wants to see his own children succeed, of course, but he gets excited whenever any student does his or her best.
When all is said and done, he says, the students are what make being an educator a worthy and fulfilling profession. It's about the kids.
Craner said she notices how he interacts with students during school visits.
"He shows the same respect to students as he does to his colleagues," she said. "He treats them as adults and really listens to their thoughts and ideas to improve the district."
When asked if he always wanted to become a superintendent, he said: “Not really. I have enjoyed every position in the district and really didn't aspire to be the superintendent. I became interested in district level work after working to open Canyon Ridge High School.”
His goals have evolved. He now views himself in the same position years from now. That OK. It's a position he has become passionate about.
"I hope to finish my career as the superintendent of the Twin Falls School District,” he said.