Honestly, I think it matters. (I'll tell you why I think that at the end of the thread.)
I wrote to them and included some thoughts that Charlie and I had previously printed here especially around the role of the Board and the role of the superintendent.
Here's some of what I said (and I'm deliberately vague on the process because it's the Board's call and no one else's):
- The district needs someone with big district/big org abilities and
background. At this point, I don't care if it's an educator. We need
someone who can lead (but also stay out of the way once
goals/priorities/action plan are set).
-We need someone who wants to engage with the community.
I'm not advocating getting rid of the Strategic Plan but it, and all
the "priorities" that come with it, are bloated and burdensome. That
staff does not even want to work on later start times because of all
this work should tell you something. The SP needs to be streamlined and refocused. YOU need to take control of what are the priorities.
main issue is the culture at JSCEE. It has not gotten a lot better. I
think some of the senior staff ARE better and ARE working well together
but they work on things that will take a long time to trickle down to
schools. I do not understand that thinking.
I do know of a great
candidate and I am going to talk with him. I know he is interested and
his background would be unparallelled. He would be one of the more
interesting candidates this district has seen in a long time. He is
I know that Dr. Carol Simmons also has a good candidate in mind, also local.
I urge you to do several things.
One, do NOT hire a search firm.
You CAN do this on your own (with a consultant for the logistics).
The past experiences with search firms have not proven their worth.
Save the money. And, be willing to listen to input but YOU guide the
Two, don't make it into a dog-and-pony show. You know I love transparency but I don't think you need masses of community meetings to find someone good. Again, YOU were voted to do this work.
As President Peaslee said at the last Board meeting, trust doesn't mean
you will always agree but that you have the trust in someone's
Three, please go local/regional. There is a lot
of movement of big city district superintendents and our district
really needs stability. Finding someone local would at least give us a
fighting chance of retention. (I would also encourage you to put in a
clause that if someone leaves before the end of their contract - for any
reason other than health - a penalty will be enacted.
I end by
saying that personally I am deeply disappointed in Superintendent Banda
for leaving this soon. Frankly, I never felt like he was truly
invested in being in Seattle. But he is leaving and there is nothing to
be done about it.
I end by saying that I do believe
Superintendent Banda when he says he is leaving to be near family and
because of his pension. There are some saying that it is because he
can't work with you. To that I say, nonsense.
you are seven smart and reasonable people. There are no wild-eyed
firebrands or kooks among you. Any big city superintendent knows there
will be disagreements with their Board. And, any big city
superintendent worth his/her salt could work with you. If not, then
maybe that person is not up to the job. I would not take any criticism
about Banda's departure as a failure on your part.
I would also put forth that you are elected on faith. Have belief in the faith of voters that you know what you are doing.
The above paragraph is why you should write the Board with your thoughts - they need to know what matters to you and that you have faith in their judgment.