Friday, July 8, 2011
Superintendent Search - A Blogging Brainstorm
I had a good conversation with Marshall Orson today. We were discussing the Brad Bryant idea. We agreed that at its core, this is a good idea – we need another interim. We need a person who can spend the next year or two before we vote in a new board and they get settled, righting this ship and then turning it around, poised for a new journey. This person needs to have a "presence" that is stronger than the board. This person needs to have the experience required to lead a system (education or otherwise) from havoc into structure. This person needs to have ethical and political clout and the respect and trust of the people. This person needs to clearly see the path we must take and be unafraid to walk it.
The board is feeding us a fantasy when they tell us they can hire a permanent superintendent by October 31. The truth is – there is no one on the docket. The search firm sent over 50 qualified candidates to the board months ago. They whittled the list to three finalists – then when they zeroed in on one and the other two dropped out, “someone” leaked the privileged executive session info on the contract negotiations, basically violating the trust with the candidate (Lilly Cox) causing her to decide to drop out as well. So they went to another highly qualified candidate (Robert Duron) from the list and when the vote was close on him, again, “someone” leaked his name, their opinion of him (negative) and began a public smear campaign designed to derail negotiations with him before they ever even took a vote. (A vote would be public, so we would have known.) Now — it’s only a few weeks from the start of school and no one will apply – as well as they might not apply as the reputation of our board as leakers and manipulators will prevent them from considering us.
So – really, what to do? Ramona Tyson emphatically says she does not want the job and will only (reluctantly) stay for three months. We need a strong two year plan. We need someone who can focus on improving the education we are providing to children while weathering the storm of the criminal trials of our former superintendent and COO as well as a $100 million civil trial with Heery/Mitchell. We need a person who can clear the way for a long-term superintendent to be chosen by the next board – the one we will elect when they all have to run for newly drawn seats in November of 2012.
Brad Bryant could do it, IMO. But what if Brad doesn't get the vote or if he turns it down? We also found ourselves tossing out names like Charles B. Knapp, former president of UGA, Betty Siegel, former president of Kennesaw State or Thurbert Baker, former GA Attorney General, Michael Thurmond, former GA Labor Commissioner or Carl V. Patton, President Emeritus of Georgia State.
Is there anyone else on the horizon? Come on out to the brainstorm, bloggers! Add your ideas and suggestions in the comments.
After you do that, make sure you send the board an email demanding action on the superintendent search. They are in a stalemate, unable to move forward with no new candidates on the horizon. They need to follow the lead of Atlanta Public Schools and find a high caliber leader to put in place for at least the next year or two who will work to make things right for the children of DeKalb.
CLICK HERE to Email the entire DCSS Board of Education