From the Seattle Times, coverage of Banda's selection. Highlights:
- Banda plans to spend his first year on the job, getting to know the city and the district without making major changes. Some of the reporters at the press conference seemed startled at this but Goodloe-Johnson did a lot of the same with touring schools and doing assessments of various departments. I cannot see anyone coming in and wholesale changing things. Sharon Peaslee said the Board did want to change things that are working in our schools but wanted to address those issues that are still of concern. Marty McLaren named Special Education for one.
- In choosing Banda over the only remaining finalist, Sandra Husk, board members opted for a low-key leader with a reputation for relationship-building. Board members said they chose him because they believe he can unite the community behind a collaborative approach that encourages parent involvement and emphasizes the importance of working in concert with the board. I really think it was key to the Board to have someone they ALL felt they could work with collaboratively.
- Banda will start July 1. Enfield leaves sometime mid-to-late June so Bob Boesche, as deputy superintendent, will guide the district in that short window of time.
- One quote I liked came from an unnamed Anaheim Board member who called Banda "a rising superstar." If he wants to make that ascension in our district, with the outcomes we would get from someone to end up being called a "superstar", fine by me.
What was interesting about the press conference is how many reporters wanted an edge to the story.
How low is the credibility in the district? What does it mean if he was the last one standing? Why do people come here and interview and not want the job (maybe because they save face by saying no first)? The BEX issue was brought up and guess what? It would have been a challenge for ANY new superintendent.
Brian Rosenthal did ask why DeBell wasn't there as President. Peaslee and McLaren said that Smith-Blum and DeBell had led the work and they were now dividing up tasks.
Some of the Board may be going to Anaheim to meet and get to know Banda better on his current home turf.
They also said they had already heard support from many parents. It would be great that if you feel that way as well, to let the Board know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Anne Martens, spokeswoman for the local chapter of Stand for Children, a national advocacy organization, said the group was disappointed with the board's choice. Could care less what Stand thinks.
- From the Times' Lynne Varner's Twitter account - Jose Banda says his way around arguments is to "agree to disagree." Can't wait til he tries that one on Seattle parents. In many ways, Jose Banda will be wonderful for Seattle Schools. But I'm not sure strong mgmnt will be one of those ways.
- "I think we are setting Mr. Banda up to fail," said Heidi Bennett, regional legislative chair for the state PTA.
- But some Seattle parents and community leaders said Husk would have been the more dynamic leader, better suited to bring dramatic change to a district in need of it. Again, is it dynamic change we want or a better run district that listens to parents and staff?
- Paul Hill, founder of the University of Washington's Center on
Reinventing Public Education, said the board's decision indicates a
majority of members wanted to have more control.
With Banda, Hill said, "basically all board members can assume that
they can sway him and control policy."
"You don't normally get anything dramatic or anything that really changes the level of performance from a middle-of-the-road, don't-rock-the-boat approach," Hill added. "But, on the other hand, you might get some peace." Actually, I don't think we are looking for drama - we're looking for people who work together to better this district and not their own agendas.