5 Questions with Mason?s Chief Academic Officer: Dr. Heather Sass
Meet Mason City Schools Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Heather Sass.
The Chief Academic Officer is a new role in Mason, but didn’t add an administrative position because the district restructured the Associate Superintendent role. Dr. Sass' primary responsibilities this year will be overseeing the district's curriculum, instruction and assessment. The Chief Academic Officer and the Innovative Learning Officer, Jonathan Cooper, jointly head the district's Center for Teaching and Learning.
“We're excited to welcome Dr. Sass to Mason,” said Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent. “She's working directly with principals and teachers to help enhance our coaching culture so that we can continue to work toward growing greatness together!”
1. Why are you excited to come to Mason?
Mason is a school district that not only respects its history and traditions, but embraces innovation. That combination is a constant source of inspiration to me. Since coming to Mason, I've experienced hard-working, dedicated staff at every level of our district. It's great to be in a place where everyone shares that passion and commitment.
2.) What are your major priorities this year?
My first priority is getting to know our staff and listening to their perceptions and needs in our on-going work with curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Beyond that, I'll be focusing on organizing our curriculum and making sure we have a well-aligned system of assessments.
3.) What’s the biggest misconception people have about testing?
One of the misconceptions is that testing is not part of the process of teaching and learning. Actually, assessing in ways that provide feedback to students during their learning process has a major impact on student achievement. Even tests given at the end of learning experiences can be a time for students to reflect on their success and set goals for further learning.
4.) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
I would love to be able "leap tall buildings in a single bound!" There are so many great things to see when you are up in the air. And I could get around a lot quicker!
5.) What’s the most important thing people need to know about you?
That I am a third generation teacher. My grandfather and my parents inspired me to choose teaching both as a profession and a mission. I see that same commitment in the teachers, administrators, and staff at Mason and am so grateful to have the opportunity to work here!