Tonight, both in person at the Stanford Center, and on television Seattle citizens were introduced to Dr. Gregory Thornton. My personal reaction was quite mixed. I saw and heard passion and a strong background in educational reform research. But I heard few specifics and lots of platitudes. No discussion of financial management, accountability, or ethics. No discussion of changing organizational culture.
My favorite phrase of the evening was that we need to "Close the gap and raise the bar." Dr. Thornton also spoke passionately about principals as "change agents" for public education whose top priority must be as "instructional leaders." Still, I'd love to know more about how/if that really works in Philadelphia.
His close relationship with Microsoft and other corporations, which he highlighted tonight, give me some concern. The district needs strong partnerships with business, but we need a superintendent who is leading the charge for reform, involving businesses as appropriate, not pandering to business' wishes or being lead by corporate agendas.
Nina Shapiro has an interesting short post on the Seattle Weekly blog: Their Problem With The Supe.
Linda Thomas' blog on the PI has had some interesting threads about the finalists for the superintendent job the last couple of days.
First up, Dr. Gregory Thornton
Get involved with the Superintendent hiring - kind of
And other recent articles about the two candidates for superintendent include:
Reader response Ask superintendent candidates questions (Times)
Superintendent finalists described as decision makers (PI)
Board to close door to talk with finalists for schools chief (Times)
Candidate Thornton came under scrutiny for Africa trip (Times)
Picking a superintendent: reaching beyond résumés (Times)
Seattle Schools: Improved process (PI)
All together now ... (Times)
Schools-chief finalists have faced tough tests (Times)
If you missed the broadcast tonight, the meetings with both candidates will be re-broadcast on Saturday, April 7th at 7 pm and on Sunday, April 8th at 10 am and 3 pm.
Send your thoughts on the candidates for superintendent to email@example.com.