Who Can You Trust? Part 2

I guess no one.

So from what I was following on the superintendent search (both in person and reading minutes), I thought I understood how the superintendent search would be working.  Of course, we are still waiting on the webpage for this information (tick tock). 

I had understood the search committee to be made up of the following:
  • 7 Board members
  • 1 SEA rep
  • 1 PASS rep
  • 1 SCPTSA rep
  • 1 staff person from Central Administration
  • 1 Local 609 rep
That's 12 people.  But then I find out that there have been interviews with other people/groups with the consultant group, Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates.   This included the Alliance for Education who apparently sent five people and Our Schools Coalition and Asian Pacific Directors Coalition.  It is unclear how any of the groups were selected.  The interviews were to help get ideas about questions for the candidates and what the community wanted.

I was fine with this (although yes, the Our Schools Coalition is a bullshit organization that exists only to say they exist).

But then I see a document from HYA - SPS Proposed Finalist Schedule (April 23, 2012) that says "Take the candidate to the location where the 25-member committee will interview the candidate."

Huh, that's odd.  Who is this group?  How were they selected?  Why do they get to ask questions?

So I have been querying Theresa Hale in the Board office (who has been nothing but nice and patient).

She first said, after listing the 11 members of the "search" committee:

Those on the search committee will be a part of the first round of interviews, and then only the Board for the second round.

Okay then but I wrote back and asked about the discrepancy between this group and the "25-member group" that HYA listed.   Then she explains that there is a 25-member "community advisory group" "to be determined at the March 14th Executive Committee meeting".

So I wrote back and said what is the difference between what each group will do?  We now have two committees for the superintendent search.

Betty Patu was kind enough to write back and say that yes, the "community advisory group"  WILL be asking questions.  Apparently it was raised if any bloggers could be included but Michael said we are media (which is fine but I'm holding him to that the next time I don't get the same access as other media).   Michael chose the Alliance and LEV (somehow they are in there as well).

I am completely baffled.  It looks like the "community advisory committee" has some members determined but not all?

Is the Board going to put out a call for groups to sign-up?  When is that happening?

Why does Michael seem to be determining who is on the community?

Why is this all so confusing?  Or maybe that is by design?

And who, in the end, is really going to decide who is Superintendent?

If they want this to be a good and transparent search, this is NOT the way to do it.

If they want the superintendent vote to end up 4-3, keep this up.


just sayin' said…
People at LEV and the Alliance blog sometimes too.
Anonymous said…
How does 25 member committee is interview candidates? It is ridiculously big. I would guess that this "committee" will agree to a set of questions before hand, but even that could become a survival of the fittest exercise. The most dominant voices will be the ones who prevail. That means LEV and the Alliance. I am sending a letter to every board member. The 12 member group perhaps with one Alliance member is big enough. All constituencies are represented.

Po3 said…
Three ring circus with DeBell as ringmaster.
mirmac1 said…
What I heard at the Comm. of the Whole yesterday is:

The Exec Comm will select the community advisory committee;

They will take into consideration all Board member suggestions;

The "stakeholders" who were interviewed by HYA are expected to be high on the list to be on the committee;

The committee will work with HYA to come up with, say 15 questions, then "rate" the finalists after their audience - like a survey, I guess - to give the Board a sense of the "flavor" of each.

Sherry was quick to say "these should be recognized groups!" so that give the contrived...I mean, legit groups first dibs. I wonder if the West Seattle Peruvian-American Society counts? I can get a PO Box and use my contact list as the membership!
Charlie Mas said…
There are rules about how community advisory committee are formed and it does not appear that these rules are being followed.

See this policy: Family and Community Advisory and Oversight Committees 4110.

"The process for selecting committee members must be inclusive, fair, consistent and transparent."

Here is the procedure: 4110SP.

There are requirements for Notification, qualification, and selection.

I'm not sure how Melissa's status as "media" disqualifies her from participation on this committee, but did not disqualify her from participation on the Advanced Learning Task Force.
Juana said…
I agree that a 25-member committee seems a bit much. It would be fair to allow other stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, etc) to ask the finalists questions. Since it's an important issue, allow one hour during a board meeting for one question per person. Just a thought/dream...
Maureen said…
What existing (real) groups involved in education in Seattle can we all name? I'll start:

The Alternative Schools Coalition
Anonymous said…
Rather than calling Melissa the representive of a blog, it would be more appropriate to refer to her as a public schools advocate. She has been an active member of the PTSA, served on more than one district committee,and writes about issues that pertain to public education. Chris Korsmo is also a blogger and yet her org. LEV may get a seat at the table. Melissa has the creds.

I am not advocating for either Charlie or I to be on the committee (even though, yes, we are qualified).

The point is the lack of transparency even though this is what was promised.
? said…
So, the 25 member board (includes LEV and Alliance) filters candidates before the SB can interview?

Is DeBell misusing his power?
Anonymous said…
Dear Maureen...

As a TOPS rep to the Alt School Coalition (and obviously a parent very involved w/ SPS governance) I would like to 2nd your point, and in fact have already contacted some of the board.

Setting aside the issue of inactive PTSAs at some schools, (an ongoing communications outreach challenge) there is a whole different group of schools that generally do not use PTSA governance. We use Site Councils. No tie-in to District-PTSA communication or representation. None.

(I do not have time to research this afternoon which Alt schools might use the PTSA...so I'll just mention all the alt schools and let others note whether they happen to have a PTSA instead of Site Council.)

Alternative schools absolutely need representation in a superintendent search, especially as our fate is strongly tied to the philosophy and management style of a district superintendent.

To be very specific, there is a marked difference in working relationship and ability of the alt schools to function under (largely supportive)Dr. Enfield vs. under Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

Salmon Bay
Pinehurst K8 (formerly AE2)
Thornton Creek


Michelle Buetow
Voltaire said…
Could someone point me to an instance, anywhere in history, where a twenty-five member committee was a good idea?

I suppose you could say the Constitutional Convention. But they went way beyond their charter and no one could even suggest that what they did was transparent. It was all behind closed doors.
mirmac1 said…
The 25 member committee was the compromise, rather than a forum open to all.

WV: spackme
Ed said…
Don Nielsen did the "Community Outreach" meetings last time and look what we got.

We suspect that (since Dick Lily was exposed) Michael is shilling for Nielsen and his cohorts at the Alliance any which way they can!
Anonymous said…
Maybe true Voltaire as to the Constitutional Convention and its lack of transparency and going beyond its charter. The ideal of men vs. the reality they exist under. Hence the allowance of slavery, lack of universal sufferage (voting rights), and limited citizenship at the dawn of our nation. Took a fair bit of time, a civil war, much turmoil, blood, sweat, and tears to finally reconcile those principles to include those who got left out.

PS mom
Anonymous said…
Put 25 people on a committee and you can't agree on pizza topings, let alone a supt. candidate!


Anonymous said…
Real shock that our the interterm superintendent didn't want to stick around for this fiasco. This is about most succinct example of the "Seattle Process" I have ever seen. There's no reason why we need to have a search committee of 25 people, or two separate committees, to hire for this roll.

Anonymous said…
25 or 5, it's who you let in that counts. 1 committee or a dozen, same. It's whose advice or whisper you listen to. So what you get is the much maligned "Seattle Process" and the appearance of transparency and collaboration in action. The question should be who does DeBell listens to and whose interest does he really represents?

PS mom
Josh Hayes said…
Just to pick a minor nit - but Michelle B wrote:

"Pinehurst K8 (formerly AE2)"

Actually, Pinehurst was formerly AS1. It's Thornton Creek that was formerly AE2. Can't tell the schools without a scorecard! I've been associated with AS1/Pinehurst for ten years now, and as to the point of your post, we use a Site Council model (I was chair for a couple of years about, oh, five years back?), though the "real" decisions are taken at BLT meetings - informed, one hopes, by the sense of the community given at Site Council meetings.
Anonymous said…
We've gotten to a place where the politicization is right out in the open and no one cares. Look at Walker, Kasich and Daniels. Our own school board. It's in your face and whatcha' gonna do about it?

Anonymous said…
Here's an idea that would replicate some of the stresses the final Sup would need to handle-- and handle well:

Have 2 town halls in varied geographical sections of the city. At each town hall are 3 or 4 final Sup candidates. Audience members can Q and A. Sound familiar? It's like the elections process. At the end of the night, audience can fill out ballots (or better yet, borrow clickers from UW). No-one can ask tougher questions than parents, and any viable candidate not only has to be able to respond to the tough Q (like "hey, why does my kid have to be assigned to a failing school and somebody else's kid gets a really high performing one?"). If I was a Board member, I'd want to sit and listen to the candidate respond to the real, gritty, non-crafted, emotion-filled questions I as a board member might not be able to politically ask...

Try Them with Real Life
suep. said…
By way of comparison, here is a supt. hiring process that's being conducted in a school district in Florida:

1) 13 meetings held w/just the community on qualifications for Sup't (held all over the county)

2) 3 meetings held for design of a rubric on the qualifications

3) Candidates' application packages were all posted - accessible to the public.

4) Recommended short list of 9 from search consultant posted with data

5) Board meeting held to reduce the short list to 4 - public was invited.

6) Community spoke on their opinion of the four candidates backgrounds on Feb 1st

7) Candidates invited to Meet and Greet the Community on two nights - one central, one west. About 400 people attended, asked questions of the candidates.

8) Candidates had private interviews individually with 7 board members

9) Candidates had televised 1-1/2 hour interview with all 7 board members with public present.

10) Community can speak for the last time tomorrow prior to the vote.

Imagine if we had such public involvement and transparency in Seattle.
Anonymous said…
Josh, apologies. Of course Pinehurst K8 was AS1. Your lovely school has enough branding challenges within the district w/out my adding to them.

For those of you who are looking for a school home in the coming year, pls. consider Pinehurst. Great community.

My point that alternative schools need a place at the table in this hiring process remains.

Michelle Buetow
Josh Hayes said…
Hee, thanks for the plug, Michelle!

Pinehurst's having a tour this morning at 9:30, and I'll be on hand for the first 40 minutes (I have to peel off to teach my "enriched" 8th grade math class at 10:10), so come on by!

It's just mystifying to me to see a community bus stop literally across the street from Pinehurst, with a couple of dozen neighborhood kids getting on a bus to go elsewhere (Broadview-Thompson, I think). Why, when they could just walk across the street?

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