Cheryl Chow just came out and announced that the Executive Session is going longer than expected. Says she hopes they'll be out in 45 more minutes.
Brita Butler-Wall is in the meeting via phone. Mary Bass just arrived.
Will keep you posted.
By the way, how public is a "public" meeting when the number of media and district staff far exceeds the number of parents or other interested members of the public?
Dr. Gregory Thornton has withdrawn. Details on Seattle Times website.
Darlene Flynn moves that Seattle offer position of superintendent to Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. Seconded.
Closing meeting, and opening up to press conference.
Chow: "The School Board's foremost responsiblity is to assure the district has excellent leadershp in the position of superintendent...any one of the six semi-finalists would have been an excellent match with the profile...because of the high caliber of candidates attracted to Seattle, we had a hard time narrowing the pool to six, and then to two finalists. The semi-finalists and finalists were not ranked going into this final stretch...kept an open mind about what we would learn about the candidates...a search of this nature is not a rank order race....we knew that we needed to move briskly or risk having top tier candidates accept other offers...needed to strike the right balance [in process]...So after naming well-qualified finalists, we set about seeing them in action...our intention to offer a contract to the person who was our front-runner...superb fit with our profile...our appreciation for her skills...were only deepened during our visit to Charleston...We are confident that she will build on, and enhance, the excellent work that has begun under the leadership of CAO Carla Santorno...we saw how the people in her community were moved to tears over the idea of her leaving.
DeBell [reading Brita's statement]: I am delighted to bring to SPS someone of the caliber of Maria Goodloe-Johnson.
DeBell: We were quite impressed with what we saw in Charleston. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has had a real impact on that community....She has brought the community together in the pursuit of excellence...her focused and decisive plan was something that was on everyone's lips...had made the case for how to change public education there so that most of the community was aware of it. We're looking forward to a similar impact from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson when she comes to Seattle.
Soriano: When speaking with her, what really impressed me was her laser-focus on education. Wanted to thank the hundreds of surveys and e-mails that were filled out here in Seattle. We'll take those into...into discussion as we go forward.
Bass: So excited...[and other language about that; Mary spoke briefly and I didn't catch any more specific words] Edited 4/14 to correct a misperception highlighted in a comment.
Stewart: So excited....goes into a school and says "How are the children?"...She looks at the data, she sees where the problems are...she comes up with a plan, she implements a plan, and then she asks "How are the children?"...We heard from a result of the site visits...that she has a highly collaborative style and I appreciate that very much. And she gets things done....I think we have someone who will get real things done in Seattle.
Flynn: ...I had a chance to meet with the Asian Minority Coalition...went into that meeting feeling equally enthusiastic about the two candidates...feedback [from community] gave us information that will be useful to Goodloe-Johnson as we go forward...We were all able to clearly see that both of these candidates are really, really strong....they had good theory of action, good specifics...very different styles...What I said about Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was, while both candidates were very inspiring, she has the ability to teach you into what you need to know to be part of the change...
Chow: We took very seriously questions that staff and community wanted us to bring to Charleston...one of the issues or concerns...initial comments was, you know, "Is she warm?" and the answer is absolutely "yes." We had the opportunity to talk with principals and teachers...[told story about Dr. Goodloe-Johnson coming to school to talk with students and staff after gang murder] Showed me concretely the type of person we have in our new superintendent. Not only will she talk about data...but she's there for the children...she's going to move our academic achievement gap to zero.
Q & A section of meeting
Q: "How will feisty personality fly in Seattle?"
A: Chow: heard over and over, don't go to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson with requests unless you have the data.
Q: "What do you know about Dr. Thornton withdrawing his name, and how did that influence your decision?"
A: Absolutely did not have anything to do with the decision.
Q: "When did you find out about his withdrawal and anything you can share about why he made that decision?"
A: Before we got on the plane yesterday in Philadelphia, we met with Dr. Thornton. He said to us at that time that he had been offered a small district in Pennsylvania (10,000) kids, but he didn't want to go there. Also said rumors going on about superintendent in Philadelphia resigning, but he didn't want to be superintendent there either. Said he wanted to be in Seattle. Found out around 10 am this morning from consultant, but not officially.
Q. "Has she accepted the job?"
A: She has not accepted the job...we have to offer it. After we stop questions here, I'll go and offer her the job...If I was a betting woman...I'd said we're going to be very please with her answer.
Q. Asked about the Finalist from Topeka press release goof.
A. We did not rank the candidates...did not affect our process...had the PR people draft 6 possibilities
Q. "Offering her a 3-year contract?"
A: Yes. If I had my say, I would offer her a longer one....but by state law cannot be longer...
A: As a top...need to offer the job.
Flynn: Felt like my life got a little easier for lack of a second candidate...
DeBell: Maintaining some kind of ranking in my mind the whole time...had a very good impression when Dr. Goodloe-Johnson came to Seattle.
Melissa Westbrook: Not enough time...I don't believe as thoughtful human beings that you gave this enough time. It looks like Dr. Thornton dropped out and you accepted Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as a de facto candidate.
Flynn: As of my going to sleep last night, I was deliberating on two candidates.
Q: You talked about a focus on academics, can you give any more specifics about how things are now and how things are going to change?
A: Flynn: Focus on using data to inform action....current theory is around changing the outcomes is that you interrogate those outcomes...and you stop doing the things that don't make a difference and you start doing the things that make more.
BREAKING NEWS --- Cheryl Chow ---- Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson has accepted our offer and will...of course we have to negotiate, but she has accepted our offer.
Q: What are your specific problem spots you want to address?
A: Use data to identify problems and create strategies...aligning curricula...strengthen leadership in our building.
DeBell: ...she has a very specific strategy for raising achievement of children or color and children in poverty...extended learning day...summer program...expectation to offer AP classes to all students in high school...focused on improving achivement for all students...diagnostic testing throughout the year...
Chow: Handout from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson that she gave us during her visit to Seattle....her plan on how to come in and listen to the community and get the information and what she's going to do in the first 100 days.
Q: Question about why Dr. Thornton didn't want to come.
A: Chow: I'm guessing that Philadelphia didn't want him to leave...didn't want to leave them in the lurch...don't even know if he was offered interim...I think we had top candidates....we were a little bit ahead of the curve, so that gave us an opportunity...Flynn: things look quite different now in Philadelphia...I think he was sincere in his pursuit of this opportunity...DeBell: Once you announce finalists, you change the situation. It's a public process from then on. Apparently the governor of Pennsylvania didn't want Dr. Thornton to leave...why we felt compelled to try to move quickly...