Corey Strong is a member of The Broad Residency's 2017-2019 cohort and served as Director of Organizational Planning and Innovation at Shelby County Schools.
wake up and listen to NPR or Sports Radio as I prepare for a morning run. I am absolutely horrible at getting up in the morning. I am a night person by habit but hearing the news from the day or scores from yesterday can get me to roll over.
I stretch and get in three miles to make sure I start the day with a good boost of energy and clear mind. I generally listen to gospel, salsa or rap on my run or during workouts. The music helps my brain work.
I drive to work. I love that the home I purchased several months before applying to The Broad Residency is five minutes from my job. That is not normal but certainly a blessing for me.
I arrive at work to review my tasks for the day. I text the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and one of the Business Ops Directors on next week’s county commissions meeting agenda to see if they believe capital budget items will get out of committee. I am involved politically at the local level and have been asked to support them when they go before committee.
My boss, the Chief Financial Officer, stops by to ask about progress on the school design process. Specifically, he wants to (and does) set up a meeting with the Chief of Schools to ensure there is a commitment to methodically define the issues my team will work on.
I meet with Director of Projects in Academics on my proposed agenda for the next school design meeting. It’s a small steering committee but she acts as my main thought partner and legacy memory on how past efforts have stalled.
The executive assistant to the Chief Financial Officer stops by to check on whether I have received submissions from other departments on our submission to the Council for Great City School Financial Awards.
I have lunch to catch up with a law school friend. I have to use lunches more to stay connected since my “after-school” time has become so limited.
I apply some updates for a request for proposal re-submission. It has been the lingering project because it is one of the first things I started working on over a year ago and has been prolonged and redone due to a number of issues.
I take a phone call from my Navy reserve center in California concerning one of my sailors. I am still responsible for my sailors even between our drill weekends.
I meet the Director of Human Capitol for coffee. We help each other remain sane.
I read some articles concerning design and school innovation sent to me by my boss.
I receive a call from the local paper concerning the local primaries. I am also the Chairman of my local Democratic Party and early vote ended yesterday.
I leave work to head to meet with my Party Communications Director.
I grab a burger and beer from a local watering hole while reviewing press releases.
I head home to grab some couch and finish watching the NBA playoffs. I make some personal calls or chat on Facebook while watching.
I happily “Superman” into my bed.
No workout today so a more generous wake up time. Normal morning routine.
I get to work and check email to see where some projects I am working on have landed.
I check in with the CFO who has written down some framing for our long term financial plan. We want to announce the effort to the School Board and County Commission next month with a good scope of where we are headed.
I visit with the Special Projects Director in Academics to discuss the new adds to the School Design Team. Academics has created a teacher leadership rubric for teachers to participate in Central Office teams and we are discussing the criteria we want included and the requirements for participation.
I work on the financial plan discussed earlier to turn it into an outline.
I order some BBQ nachos for lunch.
I work on an assignment for a meeting later today on Strategic School Design where we are looking at the school level planning process. We are currently looking at a reading about “collaborative service centers” and are expected to bring a definition to the meeting.
I meet with the Budget Manager concerning a project around under-enrolled elementary schools. He helps me to create a list of schools that we subsidize due specifically to under-enrollment and we pare down a list of 41 schools to a list of 15 to study further.
The sign-up link for YMCA games is released a day early to a select group of people and I take a call from a high school sports rival to get better people on the team than last year. I am the volleyball captain and he is the kickball and dodgeball captain. We want to have fun but we also want to WIN!
I attend the Strategic School Design meeting. My boss and I agree that I will work with Federal Programs to look at our current School Improvement Plan timeline as governed by the State Board of Education.
Get back to the office and wrap up some emails and leave for the day.
I head to the store to pick up provisions for Broad Session 5.5. Half of our cohort-mates are visiting 3 of our cohort-mates in Tulsa since there is a 6-month space between sessions 5 and 6. The Tulsa group has arranged two days of programming and I volunteered to cook the first night. I am prepping some of the food tonight since there will be 25-30 mouths to feed.
I get home and get the stove and oven ready. I am listening to some music and chatting with my brother who just moved back home. He first sent me the info on the Broad Residency 5 years ago so he’s interested in what I am doing in the program.
All the food is prepped and buttoned up and I pack for the drive to Tulsa tomorrow.
I watch some Sportscenter as I fade away for the evening.
Execute my morning routine to include my physical therapy exercises. I hurt my back during Cross-Fit so I have to rehab with about 20 minutes of exercises each day.
I head out to run morning errands at the cleaners and the grocery store.
I have a morning breakfast meeting with my CFO. Once a quarter we get out of the office to discuss my projects, my overall progress, and the direction of the department and district.
I get to the office and review the responses from the Long Term Financial Plan Focus Groups from the previous week. There were some questions from the Cabinet on what some of the feedback was, so I am sending a blurb from our Social and Emotional Learning session.
I speak with the Federal Programs Manager concerning an upcoming call with ERS to ensure I have background on what supports they will give during budget checkout around the School Improvement Plan (SIP).
I make a few phone calls concerning my Naval Reserve Unit to ensure my sailors pay is being processed properly. Each new reserve center has its own kinks and my new one has more than a few.
I stop by the Federal Programs Manager’s office to refresh my memory if we are changing the budget workbook due to the SIP work that is on-going. He is not sure so we will discuss it on the call.
I head to a local restaurant for lunch. Flat iron sliders are my choice today.
I participate in a joint phone conference between the Finance team and ERS to prepare for the upcoming budget checkout retreat with Academics, HR, and Finance. I am presenting on how we are changing the SIP timeline to coincide with school level budget checkout to ensure school needs are being addressed in budget decisions. ERS is helping me think through what examples to present.
I speak with a consultant about the afternoon’s focus group. We are covering CTE with internal stakeholders so we talk through his questions and anticipate any potential points of order for the session. This is session 13 of 19 and it has taken most of my afternoons since mid-December.
I return a call to a teacher who wants to work on the Finance team and has an accounting and project management background.
I leave the office for the focus group session.
I conduct the CTE internal focus group session with the consultant and get great feedback about our current programs as well as some ideas on growing support for CTE instructors.
I leave the focus group and head home to cook some dinner and catch up with my brother about our upcoming salsa dancing excursion to Houston.
I call a good friend who just got back into town about her upcoming move overseas.
I watch some TV and head to sleep.
Back on the Cross-Fit routine. I am too old for this but it feels good to have a little tribe.
Back home and for the morning routine.
Our bi-weekly Finance Leadership meeting begins. All the directors share their projects and we work to stay synced up and support each other. Our Deputy CFO gives us our books to prepare for the leadership training that all of the departments my boss (now Deputy Superintendent for Business Operations) is responsible for will be participating in for the next six months.
Receive a phone call from a school board member concerning a resolution they will be presenting tonight. It proposes a feasibility study for providing MATA transit passes to all high school students. I have already sent Requests for Information to MATA in anticipation of the resolution.
I speak with Assistant Chief of Security to set up a meeting with a local non-profit that works in the area of human trafficking intervention to provide training to our school based staffs.
I review the newly released Equity in Action plan from our Chief Academic Officer. My boss has proposed a new district planning process and I am looking to understand the current Academic priorities.
I head home for lunch. I have a steak caesar salad to get my greenage and protein.
I meet with our consultant to go over the major themes from our Focus Groups. We are doing a summary document for internal use and to drive our Long Term Financial Plan work.
I prepare a memo concerning the narrative for our Long Term Financial Plan. It is driven by both our focus groups and our current budget season discussions.
I read a few chapters from Swayed from our Session 7 facilitator, Christina Harbridge.
I have a short meeting with my boss concerning the tonight’s board meeting. I am not expected to speak but I want to ensure I have the proper wording if called upon.
I call to reserve a space for a meeting this evening with my Democratic party convention planning meeting. We elect new membership on March 30th and my replacement for chairperson will be elected on April 6th. Counting the days!
I head downstairs to the auditorium for the board meeting. I have a few conversations before the start. I speak with a First year Broad Resident who will be presenting her work to the board on the regional analysis. I use her data to drive a lot of our financial conversations.
I leave the board meeting to head to the convection planning meeting. We have a good discussion about both our media plan and sourcing volunteers. Everyone is pretty happy with the progress we were able to see over the past 20 months.
I leave the planning meeting and head home.
I call my Senior Enlisted Leader for my reserve unit to go over a few upcoming events and personnel issues.
I call it a night early because the CrossFit wake-up comes quickly!