Saturday, June 28, 2014

Have you written to the Board about a New Superintendent?

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.

The 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 local.

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 process. 

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 judgment.

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.

Why?

Because 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.  

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% and will send an email now saying that. Thank you MW CM for all you do

-Rover

mirmac1 said...

I think the board is more cautious now, given their recent experience.

Clearly, the dog-'n-pony show drives many candidates away. Why show your hand you want to leave your current, when it's easier to just be recruited in secret by high-priced search firms?