That said, if I were suddenly made superintendent on March 16 (like Claudius finding himself Caesar) what would I do? What would you do?
First, I would assume it was an interim appointment. Then I would ask myself: what is the best thing I could do for the District in 15 months? How could I make it ready for success with the next superintendent? The answer is clear: try to fix the fundamental flaws.
I would focus on correcting the dysfunctional culture in the District bureaucracy. How? To change a culture you almost always have to replace the people. I would start firing people all over the place, starting in the nastiest dens of dysfunction. I would fire all of those corrupt sandbag losers in Facilities. I would fire the head of the most messed-up department, Human Resources. I would clear out some of the deadwood in the JSCEE. There would be some serious changes in Communications. I would find allies - wherever they appeared in the org chart - and put them in charge (at least for the interim). Where that wasn't possible I would bring in experienced, expert people from the outside for interim roles. I would look to hire some new brooms for the long-term.
So isn't this what Dr. Enfield has done? Could you look at her first 100 days and see a clear (and probably intentional) effort to change the culture of the District?
Dr. Enfield cleaned house in Facilities. The new guys use data and analysis as the basis for their advice - and they play it straight. They have no loyalties or alliances to any of the established factions within the District.
Do-nothing Cordell Carter is now officially doing nothing. Failed principals hidden in administration have been pushed out into schools where, if they fail again, they can be fired. The revolving door at Communications has turned again.
She elevated Pegi McEvoy to interim head of Operations. This move really only makes sense through the lens of finding someone on the inside who didn't play the internal politics game. I got the vibe that Ms McEvoy was not a party to the dysfunction. She seems too
Dr. Enfield brought in Bob Boesché as interim CFO. This guy doesn't appear to be infected with the bureaucracy disease and he knows that he's a temp, so he has no motivation to build a fief.
I think she has been making things pretty uncomfortable for that bumbling crew of idiots in IT as well. Seriously, Jim Ratchford had better watch his ass. He needs to smile less and work more. He has already become more candid in his reports to the Board about the VAX.
The only department where she hasn't knocked heads is Teaching and Learning. That stands to reason since it was her department and she already had it the way she wanted it. Unfortunately it is one of the departments that is in the greatest need of reform. I fear she is too close to it to see the problems. She needs to put Cathy Thompson back in a school principal job and reorganize Teaching and Learning around a model that asks "How are you doing?" instead of a model that says "Here's how to do it."
I recently wrote a post decrying the lack of institutional memory in the District leadership, but maybe that's a good thing. Maybe the way to change the culture is with a leadership transplant.
Is this a legitimate (if sympathetic) interpretation of the facts or am I just so happy about being able to bowl again (back pain since August kept me off the lanes, but I bowled three games last night) that I'm seeing the world through rose colored glasses?