In the end, the Board chooses the superintendent. This is pretty much the Board's most important duty and they are responsible for it. They have to make the choice. Not only that, but they have to determine their process for making the choice. When it comes to everyone else working in the District, the readers and writers on this blog generally support autonomy and oppose micromanagement. We want teachers to be free to do their jobs as they see fit. We oppose their micromanagement by principals and certainly by central office bureaucrats. Similarly, we oppose the micromanagement of the superintendent by the Board. The Board sets policies, priorities and goals, but then it is up to the superintendent to determine how to achieve those goals within the context of the policies. If we support autonomy for workers, to determine for themselves how to accomplish their duties, then we should support that autonomy for the Board as well.
The Board has the duty of selecting the superintendent. No one else has that responsibility. They should decide what information they need to make that choice and how to get that information. They have. They set a process that works for them. Yes, they were guided by their hired consultants, but they did not slavishly follow the consultants' recommendations. They decided that they wanted to see the final candidates in four exercises while they are here in Seattle: school visits, a series of brief press conferences, an interview with a selected 25-person focus group, and a meeting with the Board. That's what the Board decided they needed and so that's what they are doing. They decided that they did not see the candidates field questions from the general public, so that's not going to happen.
Some folks are disappointed that about the absence of a public meeting. The Seattle Times certainly is. I'm a bit disappointed myself, I suppose. Public meetings like that can be really entertaining. But I respect the Board's choice and, even more, the Board's right and authority to make that choice.
Here's the thing. If we are going to be consistent and we are going to allow people some measure of autonomy to determine for themselves what they need to do their jobs and to determine for themselves how they will do their jobs, then we have extend that value for autonomy to the Board. This is their duty, not ours. This is their decision, not ours. Let's trust them to go about it as they see fit.