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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Does the Superintendent Want to Stay?

The Seattle PI online had this article in their morning edition.  You get the impression that, so far, most of the Board has good feelings about her leadership.

The article actually mention the raises given out at headquarters (as opposed to those 'fraidy cats over at the Times).  

I also want to clarify my quotes.  I'm pretty sure I said I "think" that Dr. Enfield would like to stay in the NW (given her work in Portland and now in Seattle). not that I "know" she wants to stay here.  She and I never had that conversation about where she wants to live and work. 

14 comments:

seattle citizen said...

I'm glad that the Post-Intelligencer quoted some of the less reformy activists in town, some people I would consider long-term, un-affiliated (non-LEV, non-Alliance...free agents)activists here in Seattle. It's a refreshing change of pace from the Times' routine, which often prints the usual reform suspects (only occasionally, and thankfully, Melissa or another "dissenter"), but rarely the voices I consider older and wiser - people who have been around town awhile, active as commentators and activists but not as paid shills.
Thanks to Carol Simmons and Don Alexander, each with decades of edcuation knowldge and activism, for talking to the PI, and to the PI for print their words. Thanks also to Sahila Changebringer for getting your voice out there, and to Candace Bullard and Gillian Allen-White.

Not a word in the article from LEV, A4E, OSC, P4L, or any of the other RA RAs(Reform Acronyms, 2x too many) Maybe the PI, like other media, is figuring out the Reformer's game, of controlling the media, and isn't willing to be a party to that anymore. Maybe the PI and others are starting to print the WHOLE discussion about public education.
Yay!

Speechless said...

I actually would like to have the interim sup on a trial basis for another year.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, they will not be starting a superintendent search until January (interestingly, AFTER the Board elections), so she will have been nearly a year in the position by then. She can apply like any other candidate, then.

mirmac1 said...

I believe she had carte blanche to put her imprint on the district. Instead, I have seen her defend the status quo or creating then undoing messes. My initial optimism has deteriorated to quiet anxiety. Actually, not so quiet. Unfortunately, the usual activist suspects like myself have had to become more forceful in our watchdog role.

Stu said...

Instead, I have seen her defend the status quo or creating then undoing messes.

I have no idea if she wants to stay or not, and I'm not sure I've fully formed an opinion as to her strengths and weaknesses. I will say, however, that I was hoping for a lot more . . some "hit the ground running" kind of stuff from her and I don't see it.

Not to defend her but she's in a strange position in some ways. Most of the people on this blog are highly critical of MGJ and the direction this district has taken. However, Enfield, in addition to having been in on a lot of the planning these past years, is also dealing with a Board that virtually rubber-stamped, or lead the charge towards, much of the stuff that I feel has damaged the district. Even if she wanted to make some radical changes, she's still dealing with a board that wanted all that reform and change.

That said, I believe that if she doesn't put her own stamp on this district in the next few months, or show some backbone when it comes to backing away from some of the stuff that's not working, there's no way she'll be hired for the actual position. At that point, she becomes MGJ's 4th-5th year and that ain't gonna cut it.

stu

Stu said...

The next Superintendent . . . general question.

I've never really followed how Superintendents come and go around the country. It does seem to me, however, that there would be more "reform style" applicants for the job than not. I mean, people who've run successful programs, that show improvements and stability, wouldn't necessarily be looking to run SPS, would they? And the people who might be "deputy" superintendents, and feel as though they're ready to fly solo, would be looking to make their mark, which means "change" . . .

Does this make sense?

I guess I'm asking, where do you find a good, qualified, candidate?

stu

Charlie Mas said...

Stu asked: "where do you find a good, qualified, candidate?"

I would look outside the public K-12 education world - if only to scrape off the dysfunctional culture that pervades it.

I would look to someone who has led a large professional services organization - an accounting practice, a law practice, an ad agency, or a sales organization.

I would want to find someone who understands three things:

1. The real work is done by the teachers in the classrooms. Teachers should be freed to do what they need to do - both by removing non-academic duties and by removing constraints on their practice. Teachers should also be supported in their work with professional development, a safe work environment, the necessary tools and resources, and effective and supportive management on site.

2. The central office should focus on non-academic tasks and quality assurance. No investment in additional administration is going to result in better student performance because administrators don't teach. The central office should stick to its narrow mission.

3. The District must respond to the needs of the public. This is a culture change. It is the most critical culture change the District could possibly make. Institutional culture flows down from the top and that's the superintendent. If the superintendent makes it clear - in word and deed - that the District is going to be responsive to the needs of the community it serves, that will become the culture of the District.

Anonymous said...

"...Enfield promised a new principal soon and said the pay raises were needed to keep talented staff in the school district..."

Reliable sources say that the Principal the RBHS community wanted wasn't chosen by Enfield until she had to reverse herself when the community leaders pushed back.

So, as Enfield has asked PASS and SEA to absorb the 1.9% reduction from the Legislature, "non-represented" downtown staff get raises because we "...needed to keep talented staff in the school district..."

For me, that is the be-all and end-all of Enfield's value as potential Superintendent of this District. Forget about retaining talented teachers and school based administrators, it's all about perks for downtown Asst Supe's, Deputy Supe's, Directors, Supervisors, et al. They are the one's who are going to close the achievement gap...and we need to pay them their "market value" as determined by the market study that Enfield had done on District time and with District money.

Downtown culture will not change without at least 3 new Board Members and a new Supe who can think outside the box of Ed Reform.

Stu re: I guess I'm asking, where do you find a good, qualified, candidate?

http://forumforeducation.org/blogs/george-wood

He's the supe for a small, 2 elementary, 1 middle and 1 high in Stewart, OH. Probably not someone who would want to run something the size of SPS. However, read his articles. This is the kind of intellect, compassion, humor, and experience that we should have in a man, or woman, to be at the helm of our District.
ken berry

Anonymous said...

Does it matter? 1 or 5 years. What is her long term personal goal? If she plans to move onward and upward after couple of years here then the district remains hostage to political whims and educational trends.

The district really needs a committed Super pretty much like Rainier Beach needs a committed principal. We need a lean and efficient admin engine with smart, HONEST folks who understand statistics, enrollment number, and long term planning. We need folks who don't need to be glammed up to do the boring, mundane jobs.

Through out the district , we now have well spoken and well meaning young things in places of great power who are long on degrees and hubris and short on working stamina, basic management skills, and teaching creds. You can tell after listening to these folks talk about themselves and all their short term good works and exotic travels, that their earnestness will last about 2-3 years before they are ready to move on to easier, more profitable, and prestigious posting.

I don't think we have serious people anymore.

-ISO serious, committed, monogamous Super

Anonymous said...

Susan Enfield makes eye contact and nods like she's listening when people are talking.

Granted, this is improvement.

But on actual issues, she is fulfilling MGF's dream: pro FTA, pro MAP, JSIS inflation (plus bonuses), no money for inter- vention, lack of respect for teachers' input (Soup with the Supe is insulting), no plans to change defective math, and other issues that Dan Dempsey knows well.

Most of the board was also impressed with MGJ until the shoe fell at midnight. Just because Enfield is good at PR does not make her the right choice to lead SPS.

--seeing through Sarah Palin, Jr.

Anonymous said...

That was meant to be MGJ--that F may have been a Freudian slip

-Seeing through Sarah

Melissa Westbrook said...

ISO, Michelle Bachmann likes to repeatedly point out that she's a serious person. If you have to point that out, maybe not so much.

Anonymous said...

Well there is a big difference between talking and doing. Thus far, there is not enough to convince me that our district leaders are serious about our kids' education and that they are putting students' welfare ahead of their own.

-ISO

mirmac1 said...

As long as you have the female equivalent of an empty suit like Holly Ferguson still collecting a paycheck, things are seriously wrong!