Lynne Varner at the Times once again is chiming in with some very similar words on finding a superintendent. She speaks of superintendents past.
"Each left behind lessons that maybe we're now ready to learn."
NOW?! It's only taken our district a decade or more to learn some important lessons? And when can we expect this learning to take place at the Times?
She speaks of John Stanford who is now practically a saint in this district. John Stanford is a lot like John F. Kennedy. We don't really know what their potential or vision would have realized and we have deified them to the point that makes little sense.
Then she reflects on Olchefske:
"But the money guy who said no to rewarding mediocrity stumbled when he failed to track $34 million in spending."
I don't know what parallel universe Ms. Varner is living in but $34M is NOT a stumble. And, she should read her own paper because Olchefske is ALSO the person who got us into the massive debt that is the district headquarters.
"Three years later, Manhas headed for the exit amid community anger over school-closure plans recommended by two separate citizen committees to save money and efficiencies. "
What two separate citizen committees? I served on the first one but the second set of recommendations came straight from staff. And guess what? That second set was wrong and then when Goodloe-Johnson took her turn, we then found out that we NEVER should have closed the most recent schools. The district cost us money instead of saving us money.
I find it troubling that, opinion piece after opinion piece, Ms. Varner makes errors and never corrects them. It is wrong to send out untrue information into the ether.
She goes on to the present day:
Knowledgeable speculation is that her departure was spurred by division on the board about her leadership goals and plans.
Really? Given she had NEVER publicly talked of her goals or plans for the district, how could the Board have known anything?
And, it looks like the Board survey results are out but I didn't receive any media press release nor is there any info at the district website. It says results are to be announced at the Jan. 4, 2012 Board Meeting. I'll have to e-mail the Board for a copy of the results since they seem to be handing them out early.
"Two-thirds picked a strong superintendent over a strong board."
Please understand that the third option to this question - "I want a strong Board AND a strong Superintendent" - was rejected by Elway and the Board took it out. What would the real answer have been then? We'll never know.
No one is asking for perfection. But the Times seems to ignore or look away from the fact that this district has been mismanaged for a decade. They excuse every single financial scandal, they pretend all is well.
We need a well-managed district so we can get on to the REAL business of educating students. But when the powers that be muddy the waters with their own agenda and beliefs, we find we never get to that place.
How about advocating for transparency and accountability rather than perfection?
Update: Charlie had the very best line:
Leadership isn't about forging ahead on your own. Leadership is about inspiring people to come with you.