From the Desk, a Conversation with Superintendent Dr. Bales

Friday, August 27, 2021

Kelbaugh interviews Dr. Bales

The job of a superintendent during a worldwide pandemic is undoubtedly a challenging profession. We met up with Superintendent Dr. Troy J. Bales to discuss how he manages the stresses brought on by these unprecedented times.

Starting a second school year during a pandemic, being a first-year superintendent, and working through ever changings public health guidance is stressful. How are you? You’re right, it is stressful. But, I’ll tell you that it’s stressful for all of us. Our students, staff, parents, our community in general. Listen, it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, we’re all going through a challenging time together. And it’s together that we’ll find our way through.

That’s a great point and with school back in session, I suppose that’s even more true. What tips or advice do you have for students and parents who are feeling stressed about a new school year? Might I instead offer a message of thanks? Absolutely. I don’t have to mention what a challenging time these past months have been. We’ve all experienced it, in our own ways.

While it may be a few years before we know how the impact COVID-19 has had on the social and emotional well-being of students and staff, tell us why social and emotional support services are crucial right now. In PVSchools, we want all students to succeed on their journey of excellence. That’s made more difficult when other challenges are stacked against us, so offering support to our students is crucial. Now, our students are dealing with more stressors than normal, so we need to make sure we continue to offer the support they need. Our schools have counselors, social workers, and support personnel to support our students. If students are struggling with social and emotional issues or stress, I encourage them, or their parents, to please reach out to the school's principal.

Speaking about offering support. You were once involved with Teen Lifeline and advocated for the helpline phone number to be added to the back of school IDs. That was a really proud moment in my career. A moment that really opened my eyes to the needs of our young people. At the time, I was a principal, and to help me help our students, I became an active volunteer and Board Member in Teen Lifeline, a non-profit organization committed to the prevention of teen suicide across the state. It was personally and professionally rewarding to see the immediate benefits for our students.

We all need a positive outlet to decompress from the day-to-day pressures and stress. Tell us what helps you deal with the pressure? I’m an exercise enthusiast and love spending time with my family. Lifting weights, walking, or bike riding as a family affair helps to balance my mind and the stress of the job. Now, I say stress of the job, and there’s that, but I do want to clarify. I love where I’m at, and I’m honored each and every day I get to walk through the doors of our own little paradise.

It’s definitely apparent that you have devoted your life to education and the success of young people. Last school year, you even took time out of your busy “soon to be superintendent” schedule to be interviewed by Palomino Intermediate students.  During that interview, you said that you enjoy cooking at home. What is your favorite meal to prepare? Yes, that was a lot of fun. Hopefully, a stepping stone on a handful of future journalists' journey of excellence! My favorite meal to make at home? I’d say grilling; fillet and vegetables.

That sounds really good and the fact that there’s a secret ingredient makes it even better. Tell us what’s your secret ingredient? What’s something that others may not know about you? When I was younger, I learned to barefoot water ski!