Friday, November 17, 2006

Informal Poll - Hire Norm as Interim? or Keep Raj Until Next August?

I'd like to take an informal poll, asking everybody who reads this to click on the comment button below and leave your response to the question.

Should the Seattle School Board:

  • Hire Norm Rice as Interim Superintendent and postpone the national search for a year or so until the reputation of the Board and the district improves?

- OR -

  • Keep Raj Manhas on as Superintendent until the end of his contract next August, and launch into a national search for a new superintendent right away?


Anonymous said...

Norm Rice now. We need to shift away from beating up the board and Superintendent Manhas and work on the critical issues for Seattle students and staff.

Anonymous said...

Rice now, with reservations. I think it is the best way to ensure getting the operations levy passed, and I shudder to think what would happen if it didn't.

Charlie Mas said...

Keep Mr. Manhas and do a national search for a long-term hire.

Andrew Kwatinetz said...

Rice now.
Can start searching now also, but have the time to plan a proper search to find the best candidate. (And the best candidates are most often not immediately available because they are doing a great job somewhere.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm in the middle. I think Mayor Rice would having a calming effect (as did Raj when he first took over)as the Board moves about the business of a national search.

BUT will he lay down the law to the Board? Will he will bring in new initiatives? No and no. He will be the boss for district staff but he's not there to ride herd over the Board. I think Mayor Nickels may believe he should and encourage him to do so. That would be a bad idea. Also, Mayor Rice might want to take a tour of Seattle schools and take back his completely out-of-line, disloyal comment about not recommending them to newcomers. He should do this BEFORE taking over. If he's not big enough to do that, then he shouldn't be superintendent.

I think the Board may feel at this point (and rightly so) somewhat backed into a corner. Nobody likes that feeling of losing control especially if you've been elected to have control.

But, all things considered, I think he would do more good than harm in the short-term until we can find a new super. Raj certainly does feel like a lame duck and that's not good for the district and the public's perception of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the middle.

I like Rice only because I think he could help on the levy front.

I don't like Rice for the job because of several comments he has made to the press including (let me add these comments were made before it was suggested he take over):

That he would be considered to radical for superindendent (September)

That schools shouldn't be allowed to fundraise so the State will act faster (don't trust that will happen and don't want my children's school to suffer as a result)

And lastly that it would be a tough choice on whether he would recommend Seattle public schools to people - him saying this tells me he is not familiar with how great a lot of the schools are.

I just don't feel like I trust him - I also have a friend who works for the bank that he helped contribute to putting in great financial distress due to mismanagement and a lousy hiring so I'd like him to explain that one too.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that Norm Rice would be a lot more useful as a temporary community liaison whose job is to spend a day or half day visiting each public school to observe its classes and talk with staff and parent representatives about the school's distinctive programming and philosophy.

Don't give Rice a decision making position as superintendent. If he wants to apply for the job later, that's fine. If he doesn't apply for the job, he should then be a key player in helping the school board to interview and select the next superintendent.

Whatever happens, isn't Raj still guaranteed his full salary until next August? Even though he is a lame duck superintendent, it's no reason to release him before his salary ends.

Anonymous said...

RICE NOW to shore up confidence, provide stability and ensure support of upcoming levies. I think his familiarity with Seattle politics is a timely asset. I agree with what others have mentioned about his unsupportive comments but I still believe that there is no time to waste with declining public opinions, a board that doesn't seem to be on the same page and upcoming enrollment for next year in addition to the levies. With a child headed for kindergarten in 2007 I'll feel much more comfortable choosing a public school knowing that someone capable is in charge NOW.

Beth Bakeman said...

So far, I count 3 Norm Rice now votes, 2 "in the middle" or Norm with reservations votes, and 2 keep Raj votes.

Others? I'd like to hear from as many people as we can on this today.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's a good laugh; a letter writer to the Times suggests instead of Mayor Rice...Mike!McGavick.

Anonymous said...

Keep Manhas and start a national search.

Rice carries too much baggage. The parties involved already have enough baggage to handle. I have reservations about Manhas but I don't see Rice stepping in as the impartial voice of reason, so why bother? I think parents need to persist in questioning (respectfully) and participating. This persistence is the only genuine oversight we have right now.

Anonymous said...

One order of Rice please! But I'll take the Constance, the better half. After all, she is the one with an academic and professional resume that more closely maps to education.