Up close and personal with the new Loveland Schools Superintendent
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (June 16, 2021) – Mr. Michael (Mike) Broadwater was introduced as the new Superintendent for Loveland City School District Wednesday, May 26, and will begin serving in the position August 1, 2021.
Loveland Beacon sat down with Mr. Michael Broadwater for an “up close and personal” conversation to get to know Mike Broadwater in a more personal way. Beyond the professional educator coming to LCSD from the Forest Hills School District where he currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for facilities, he is a husband and father. And yes, he prefers to be called Mike.
Mike is married to Sue and has five children. Four of the children have graduated from college, but the youngest plans to study journalism at Ohio University following her high school graduation in 2022. Touching the professional side again, he considers himself an educator with a focus on the students first.
“I consider myself an educator,” said Broadwater. “I taught 14 years, was in a (school) building for 28 years; all the way from Assistant principal to Principal and then Assistant Superintendent here (at Forest Hills School District). To me, kids are always first, that’s what we are about. It was hard for me to leave the building because of the day-to-day interaction with children is what fills your bucket. You know you’re helping kids.”
In fact, while he has been serving as an administrator at FHSD for several years, Mike Broadwater has continued to teach in the classroom. Math is his subject. He currently teaches classes at a local college. Though it may sound cliché, he says he works hard at staying student-focused. For him that means athletics, performing arts; it means everything outside the school day is very important to students today. For Broadwater, that means it must be equally important to him, to administrators and to all of us.
“I coached football for 14 years, basketball for 14 years at the varsity level,” Broadwater said. “Then I coached my own children for 10 more years. I’ve coached more games than anybody could think about with AAU basketball and volleyball.”
All of that brings Mike Broadwater to this place in his career as an educator where he believes he’s seen a lot and experienced a lot. Throw into the mix this past year with responsibility for human resources ie: staffing for FHSD virtual academy and business applications. He worked with Hamilton County to implement all the cleaning and quarantine protocols. It verified his belief kids are unbelievably resilient. NOTE: FHSD was “face-to-face” all year with a virtual option, but never stopped in person classroom teaching/learning. Despite his own doubts about asking students to follow facemask protocols, he saw the kids simply do it.
“That verifies to me, if you have positive relationships and just have good expectations for kids, the kids are very resilient and follow through,” he said. “They have to trust you. This year was WOW! It was a lot. I’m really looking forward to seeing kids again.”
Broadwater expressed palatable excitement for getting back into the school buildings, getting back to athletic events, and all the other outside of the school day activities. During pandemic restricted attendance, he chose to stay away so more family members could attend and see their children participate. It offers a look into just how he has put the students, and their families, first in the past. Recent experience has shown him many there are many avenues of communication to help understand the wants and needs of the students, their parents and the community. Like almost all of us almost everywhere, he is aware of social media as a communications device and the impact it can have.
“It’s a good way to get community opinion,” said Broadwater. “You want to listen to everybody and at the end of the day you do have to make decisions based on what’s best for kids.”
Broadwater broke it down to the simplest form reaffirming the end goal to keep decisions focused on what is best for all students. He admits therein lies the challenge; finding the decision which will provide for all the students. For him, it is about listening, gathering the information, and serving the students and community.
“I consider myself a servant leader,” Broadwater explained. “From walking through; if somebody needs a hand, I’ll give them a hand. If I see a piece of paper on the floor, I’m going to pick it up. If a kid needs help, I’m going to give it because we’re all in it together.”
His leadership philosophy – style, if you will – is based on the idea if you expect something from somebody else; you have to set even higher expectation for yourself. Broadwater always points back to the question: What are we doing for the kids? As an adult and a parent, he understands our passion for our own children can interfere with making perfect decisions as a father. His professional leadership style is first to be a servant and then secondly to be out there and visible.
“These are tough decisions we make,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’ll always come back and say we have to focus on the kids. What are we doing for the kids?”
For Mike Broadwater, it goes back to not just being visible, but being there 100% all in and enjoying what he’s doing. He enjoys conversations with the students and the people in the community. Talking with him leaves no doubt he’s interested in getting to know you, getting to know the people in the community where he’ll serve.
“I enjoy getting to know people,” said Broadwater, “so when you (I) do have to make a decision, you (I) understand what the community is about.”
Sometimes he likes to call it “management by walking around” but that is what he does. He says a bad day for him is sitting in the office all day. Loveland can expect to see Mike Broadwater out and about; not only in the school buildings, but also in the community.
“I want to be out,” Broadwater said. “I want to see kids. I want to see staff; support the staff as much as possible. Teaching is not easy. It’s the community schools. I think it’s important. That’s who owns these schools. There is no more precious commodity than your own child.”
Listen. It is the key word used most by Mike Broadwater when talking about what it takes to lead and make the tough decisions, the best choices for the students. He also noted listening goes both ways.
“The community also needs to listen to the experience I’ve had in this field,” he explained. “We just need to work together. People say we need to communicate. Sometimes communications is trust and trust is communication.”
Broadwater plans to develop trust with the community through a lot of communication. He believes when trust is established, communication is believed and you can move forward from there. We’ve heard him say he wants to get to know the people, the community, but he also wants the community to get to know him.
“It’s never been a race to the top for me,” said Broadwater. “Every step along my career, I’ve been able to take some very good things from some very good people. I think it’s just listening, finding those individuals that have the history and have the knowledge . . . and listening.”
Mike Broadwater has some history, has some knowledge of his own. He seems eager to share it as the new Superintendent for Loveland City School District. His hope is to bring improvements to what he believes is already a very good school district. When he officially arrives on the job August 1, 2021, you can expect to see him and you can expect him to listen to you. He hopes we’ll all be listening to him too.
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