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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Enoch Out

As I previously posted, a finalist has dropped out and it is Steven Enoch.  (The district decided not to tell me so I get official notice from the Times.  I suspect they will drop me as media when we get a new superintendent so I will be forced to state many things off the record.) 

From the Times:

“I have concluded that what Seattle needs is a younger person, potentially able to provide longer stability and direction for the district,” wrote Enoch, who will turn 63 next month. “I believe you have two very viable candidates that will better meet the long-term needs of the district.”

Enoch added he enjoyed his visit to Seattle for final interviews last week.

“I loved the tours of the schools, meeting with staff, students and community leaders,” he wrote. “I most enjoyed meeting each of you as you are all wonderful individuals, who give unselfishly so very much to the the children of Seattle.”

This is very genuine and generous of Mr. Enoch to say this but I truly believe he could see the process had been corrupted and wanted no part of it any longer.  No one likes to feel like they are window-dressing for another candidate.

And so, despite all the controls and new consultants, Seattle Schools once again cannot hang on to its full complement of superintendent candidates until the end of the process.  

The Board has a mammoth discussion ahead of them today in trying to decide between Husk and Banda. 

60 comments:

Jet City mom said...

Well that sucks. I would rather see them revisit some of the other candidates at this point rather than a pressured choice.
" marry in haste, repent in leisure"

Anonymous said...

The other two should not get the job. Husk is MGJ, she won't listen. Banda might be great-- in 8 years time with a more diverse school background (eg. Older students). They should simply go back, we have Bob B. to caretake in the meantime. Please God don't do this to our kids!!!!
--scarred and scared

Anonymous said...

Say it ain't so. I really liked him and was hoping he would be the Board's choice.

disappointed

Melissa Westbrook said...

Scarred and scared, I wish - if the Board cannot agree - they would suspend the search and get Bob Boesche to take the job.

Anonymous said...

As I have posted elsewhere, he was the only candidate that had experience with a professional and modern system of special education service delivery. Nobody else has had that exposure.

Parent

Anonymous said...

Darn it. I liked his style and thought he would be the best pick.

I do think Banda might bring us a better fundamental math curriculum, a critical foundation for student success. We need this more than planting IB programs here and there. I just hope he could stand up to the ed reform crowd.

Husk is too ambitious and self serving for my taste. The ed reformers might love her but the school curricula might not get any better by the time she leaves for a better job.

S parent

Watching said...

"And so, despite all the controls and new consultants, Seattle Schools once again cannot hang on to its full complement of superintendent candidates until the end of the process."

I agree. In fact, I believe we lost the best candidate.

Anonymous said...

It is their failure to dismiss this blog as legit media. They consider themselves to be uncorrupted? Well, their biases have outed them.

Melissa, your fair and objective reporting of the process is what did you in. You have indicated preferences, but you presented the facts first.

My sense about DeBell is that he prefers a ruler to a manager. I fear we shall be ruled by Sandy Husk aka Susan Enfield aka MGJ.

n...

Watching said...

"Scarred and scared, I wish - if the Board cannot agree - they would suspend the search and get Bob Boesche to take the job"

You make an interesting point, but Boeche was also taken out of retirement.

Enoch is a real loss. We could have seen real innovation. I"m so disappointed.

Anonymous said...

What a shame! I thought Enoch was what our district needed NOW. He’s experienced and could jump right in and provide the leadership we need NOW and provide the “healing work” that is needed too. I'd be happy with my #2 Banda, yet he's going to have a ramp up period we will need to accept. Give him a few years and he appears to have the demeanor and leadership style to be an excellent Sup. Please, please SPS Board; don't cave to the corporate ed reformers and go with Husk. You will have a very unhappy group of constituents. We can not afford to have such a polarizing individual like her at the helm.

~Public School Advocate

Anonymous said...

Why can't we ever hang on to a good candidate? Maria Goodloe Johnson version 2 here we come.

Signed disappointed.

Joy A. said...

I really wish the District had looked for a Superintendent in Finland, Germany, or the Netherlands. Less self-serving cultures, succeeding schools, and a way different work ethic. They don't jump.ship.for. better offer before they are even offered the post....

Anonymous said...

Talk about machination. I am so very disappointed. I can't blame Mr. Enoch because it will be tough to run this district honestly without the approval of the people that control the politics and the money in this town. Back to same ol' SNAFU! It's true then... the only certain things in life for us plebs are death and taxes.

Taxed to death

Anonymous said...

I urge you to remind Marty McLaren that she was elected by the voters. NOT by Frank Greer, NOT by the Alliance/Stand/LEV, NOT by Jonathan Knapp.

Go to WS Library this afternoon or email her at martha.mclaren@seattleschools.org.

Really disgusted

Juana said...

What bad news! Maybe to put some fire under the board if they are leaning towards Husk is to say that you wouldn't support the $1B levy and will make any efforts necessary to defeat it. Should we also send emails to McLaren about concerns voiced regarding her allegiance?

Juana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Also very disappointed. What are the chances they may choose Banda? Also, I watched Up Front. Can Mel or someone explain to me why exactly these reporters see Husk as pro-teacher???? Is this a fact-based opinion?
--tc

Floor Pie said...

Damn. Can we get Enoch to take the Special Ed Director job instead?

Anonymous said...

Can we get Enoch back?

The special education families in the Husk and Banda district have no voice and no advocate. It is probably the same gate-keeping that goes on here. At least Enoch would have experienced something different.

Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Floor Pie, interesting suggestion.

TC, both Alison Krupnick and Lynne Varner say that Husk expressed support for teachers. Krupnick was not in my media group but Varner was. Husk did support teachers but so did Banda and Enoch (as reflected in my threads on each other them). I suspect this is a throw to SEA and helps Knapp with his case.

I doubt that Husk is any more supportive to teachers in her district than Enoch and Banda. I also doubt that it came out that way in any of the interviews with the Board, committee or media.

Anonymous said...

MGJ, too, expressed support for teachers. And the community.

Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice....

Ed Voter

basically said...

Could they bring back the #4 seed, so they at least still have three to choose from?

Anonymous said...

I think they will just pick Husk and say Banda needs to mature. I have sent two emails, one to the board and one to McLaren asking them to choose Banda.

FHP

Juana said...

Something about this recent development doesn't feel right. What compelled Mr. Enoch to withdraw which pave the way for the argument that Mr. Banda is not experienced enough (if so, why was he one of the three finalists) and thus Ms. Husk is the only viable candidate left?

I sent this email to the directors today.

In light of Mr. Enoch's request for non-consideration, please select Mr. Banda. Community opinion does not favor Ms. Husk who is perceived as another Goodloe-Johnson. It pains me to state that if Ms. Husk is indeed selected then that will begin public efforts to defeat the $1B levy.

As costly as it may be, another option would be to re-start the search. Please do not repeat what happened when Mr. DeBell and his colleagues chose Goodloe-Johnson because she was the only candidate left. That choice cost over half -a- million dollars and even more distressing the credibility of the board and the school district and the lack of significant gains towards improvement of our children's education.

Thank you for considering.

Anonymous said...

We just lost our one single good candidate. It is depressing.
-No Husk, please

Chris S. said...

Melissa, can you explain how the process is "corrupted" and what did Enoch see that clued him in to this? Thank you for your reporting. I've been taking a much-needed break from crosscut and the times.

Anonymous said...

Look for all of you knocking Johnathan Knapp, realize he's SEA and he's working to protect teacher's interests. He has to do what he has to do. SEA is not SPS. They are different institutions with different goals and serve different sets of people.

reality check

Arrrggggh said...

How can somebody get this far through the process and then drop out? Does it make anybody else question his judgement? He seemed like a good candidate, but he certainly wasted a lot of time and energy. If he has a good reason, he should share it with the rest of us.

I think we should declare a mistrial.

Anonymous said...

Hell, just flip a coin, isn't that what the District does anyway.

Promises need to be kept said...

McLaren filed a lawsuit against the district because of fuzzy math. Husk has used fuzzy math in her district. I'm hoping McLaren remembers this when voting.

Also, McLaren also ran her campaign which was intended to support teachers and parents. McLaren's slogan was: "The School House is Our School House.

I hope McLaren remembers her campaign promises.

martha.mclaren@seattleschools.org.

Promises need to be kept said...

McLaren filed a lawsuit against the district because of fuzzy math. Husk has used fuzzy math in her district. I'm hoping McLaren remembers this when voting.

Also, McLaren also ran her campaign which was intended to support teachers and parents. McLaren's slogan was: "The School House is Our School House.

I hope McLaren remembers her campaign promises.

martha.mclaren@seattleschools.org.

Anonymous said...

History repeats itself. We saw candidates drop out in final stage of the superintendent search several years ago. Enoch was wise to drop out now.

The school board received about 50 applications this time. Who were the other 47 applicants? None of those were qualified for the job?

Banda's plan to avoid major changes worries me. This district needs major changes starting with having a competent and accountable senior management team in place.

Care about SPS

Anonymous said...

"Reality Check"...I have worked with and observed JKnapp in action....I do not at all share your opinion of him 'working for teachers'....He is all about appeasing the Admin. and other power brokers...His future employers will no doubt reward him for all of this...IMHO a self serving Judas of the highest order....MizMannerz

Melissa Westbrook said...

Look, I haven't spoken with Enoch so this is me trying to see why he withdrew before any offers were made.

This is not unheard of; indeed, it has happened before in our district.

Think to yourself. You were to retire and then saw a job that would get you back to a place where you've lived before (and presumably liked). It's a district that has real and distinct problems but, as a seasoned professional, you thought you would check it out.

Enoch did that. Both in his statement yesterday and at his interview, he expressed great enthusiasm for what he saw in the three schools he visited.

I'm sure it might have seemed odd to all the candidates to be interviewed by a committee that was going to express no recommendation or ranking to the Board, just insights. But that was the process they were presented with.

I feel certain that the superintendent candidates were aware of this blog (and may have been monitoring it).

Enoch might have seen the alert that suddenly the process was changing and the committee might now be giving a recommendation. It might have given him pause to wonder about why that would be.

So he then hears "oh that was just a communications error" but being a seasoned professional, I think he might just have thought otherwise. He might have thought something was happening and he didn't like it and was not going to be window-dressing.

OR

He simply changed his mind.

Went through the process, found the job lacking (certainly not in challenge and just changed his mind.

OR

Didn't feel it went well and decided to say no before getting the "thanks but no thanks" call.

I don't know but I could tell he's savvy.

Now I fully expect that sometime soon I'm going to get blamed for putting out the information on Friday and it caused confusion, blah, blah, all this talk of a corrupted process, etc.

I also held back on the Van Asselt investigation because I didn't want to hurt this process.

I was the messenger, and did not create the message.

I drew my own conclusions and put them forth here.

I didn't start the fire. I just saw the puff of smoke.

Anonymous said...

Melissa...I am Ex SSD ( student and Educator)...I do not know you, but I read this blog semi-regularely...In this reader's opinion You ought to be given a medal for the service you provide this community....If SSD revokes your media credential then that says it all and gives even more credibilty to what you all do here..... Many sincere Thanks to you and all the others who shed light on the far too often corrupt and devious machinations of The Seattle Public Schools.. The Truth shall set us Free Sister!....... MizMannerz

Anonymous said...

OR he got a lot of signals and/or questions regarding his potential longevity and did not feel he could meet their expectations, or perhaps play that game. Perhaps he was even pushed to give a verbal commitment to state how long he would be willing to stay.

Maybe we will find out more. I hope there is nothing nefarious there.

But he was the best candidate in my mind and I am bummed.

--Still hoping for Banda

Anonymous said...

The Times just put out its glowing editorial endorsing Husk! Seems like the education powers-that-be have made their choice. Maybe I should reach out to Mr. Banda to get him to withdraw as well so he can save face with his Anaheim community. As an above board guy he let the entire ACSD stakeholder groups know of his finalist status and I hope putting him through this process wasn't just for show. In subsequent conversations with him since his return from Seattle, he did say he learned a great deal and doesn't regret his to interview for the SPS superintendency.

Anaheim Resident

Jon said...

With Enoch pulling out, I wonder if it was just that he was obviously the best candidate, was enthusiastic, and was willing to take the pain of postponing his retirement, but the Seattle School Board wasn't returning the enthusiasm, so he decided it just wasn't worth it.

I've certainly been in similar situations, where I have done interviews where I was well prepared, enthusiastic, and willing to take on a painful job, was greeted with a lukewarm response, and then I immediately withdrew myself as a candidate for the position. Just not worth it if the other side isn't interested.

Anonymous said...

Eerily familiar. Same thing happened when we got "stuck" with Goodloe-Johnson. That's why I wanted to see us woo Enfield just a little bit more. We may wind up with Husk.

Too bad

Anonymous said...

Jon, that theory might make sense if he had not made it to the final three. At that point, all three *should* have been reasonable contenders. That is, if we were dealing with an above-board process.

I think Husk was the pick all along by the shadow powers-that-be, and they threw the other two out there as diversions. Enoch refused to go along, and withdrew.

I really worry about the future of our district. Not necessarily because of the choice of Husk (though am no fan), but by the continued underhanded nature of the process, and this continued push by the power brokers for backing such anti-community leaders.

saddened once again

Jon said...

"Saddened once again", agree that it is likely that Husk was picked all long (by some of the school board members and interest groups), and that Enoch refused to go along once he realized what was going on. That theory is consistent with what I said too, so I think we're mostly agreeing.

Transparency Needed said...

"I think Husk was the pick all along by the shadow powers-that-be, and they threw the other two out there as diversions.


I am still waiting for someone to report on the fact that Enfield and Husk know each other. Brian Rosenthal, where are you?

Anonymous said...

I think I was focusing more on outsider, behind the scenes influence on the process as opposed to certain board members, Jon, but I agree that we are in near agreement. Board members have to open the door to let the power brokers in, you are correct about that.The lack of backbone is deplorable.

It is so sad to see a fake superintendent search in progress again. This city and its kids deserve better.

saddened once again

Anonymous said...

Somewhat of an insider here: Phil Brockman DID APPLY, 100% for sure. Why was he not one of the top 3? I think he shpould be now, for sure.

But Board voted Friday, so it's a done deal.

Signed,

Drat

Someone said...

Interesting tweet from Lynne Varner

The Seattle School Bd met in exec session on Fri., a day later Steven Enoch drops out of superintendent search. To save face? #WAedu

to save who's face?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anaheim Resident, thanks for the input. I enjoyed meeting Mr. Banda as well.

Lynne Varner really tweeted that? Wow, just a little disrespectful, no? I mean the guy has done this many drill times before and obviously got the job. She doesn't have any real knowledge of why he pulled out so why say that?

It's almost like the Times wants to paint a picture of him that isn't valid.

Someone said...

Yes, she really really did. I thought it was more than a bit of an odd thing to say. I was so hopeful when I read about Mr. Enoch - but knew they'd never hire him. Oh to have been a fly on the wall during deliberations...

Jet City mom said...

I just searched on Twitter. Yes, Varner really said that.
Classy broad, that one.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that tweet by Lynne Varner adds fuel to the fire for me. That she has to get in the game and paint him black means that there is a big game going on. She just had to get in on it. Could not resist playing. And guess who was not invited to the party--the parents and the public.

That lady has an ego that won't stop. Thanks Lynne for confirming that you and all the wonderful Seattle interest groups have been working the back rooms and corrputing the process to get what you think is best.


--Still hoping for Banda

Anonymous said...

I posted this on another thread -- but wanted to add it here too -- as an endorsement for Mr. Banda, whom I think will do just fine (with some help from his new "friends" -- SSD parents and staff -- if the money folks get pouty and mean). It was posted in response to a comment that opined (wrongly, I thought) that Mr. Banda was somehow a "lightweight":

Anonymous said...
I would DEFINITELY give Banda this position over Dr. Husk, and I do NOT think he is in any way a "lightweight," though I am sure that the LEV/A4E/STAND crowd is tickled to have him painted that way. Look at Dr. E! She had never been a Superintendent AT ALL before she got the position here -- and she was a vast improvement over MGJ, the "lots of experience" person who preceded her. Although he currently heads a district that lacks the upper grades, it is not like he has no experience with them from prior positions, or that there aren't plenty of folks around her (buckets of "ed directors, assistant supes of curriculum, etc. etc. etc. Moreover, he struck me a perfectly intelligent, thoughtful, and totally in possession of this entire process.

I too liked Enoch, because he was older, had more seasoning, and in particular, seemed to "get" special ed stuff -- which we have lacked for so long.

But I am dismayed over what I think is entirely misplaced pessimism about Banda's ability to manage this District well. And when we chose Olschefske, and Stanford, etc. etc. -- these folks did not have years of experience in like-sized Districts!

We need someone with the substantive ability to make good decisions FOR THIS DISTRICT. Look at the math decision-making between these two! It is obvious who THINKS, and who mindlessly swallows whatever the latest fad is. We need someone who is willing to work with a true "governing board," rather than just a rubber stamp board that has ceded ALL of its governance functions to the Superintendent. Banda has NO PROBLEM working with the board. It is crystal clear from Salem that Dr. Husk wants a "non-interference" pact from the board that basically gives her carte blanche. And the metrics on which she was judged -- SO squishy. No accountability.

I hope the Board stops to think about how many fiascos have flowed from that management model with MGJ. MGJ got her way on any number of horrible decisions -- school closings in West Seattle, the co-housing of APP, school sales to FAME, freedom to totally ignore business management issues downtown (Potter-gate, audit findings, years of screwing up the Native American grant, bloated staffing, etc.).

I'm sorry -- but this decision is a flat no-brainer. The job offer should go to Banda. End of story. And a pox on the ST and their head-wedged reporting. AARGH!

Jan

Anonymous said...

Let's face it--whoever picked these three finalists out of the total list of applicants did not do a good job.

The only one who should have made the final cut was Banda. Husk (for obvious reasons--DUI and subsequent behavior) and Enoch (at the brink of retirement)had no business making it this far.

Who picked the finalists? Who decided they ALL needed to be from the West Coast (even though Husk is from Georgia originally)? Using that variable for all three was extremely limiting and makes no sense.

Someone should have asked Husk if she knows Enfield/Phillips. Someone should ask Enfield about it now.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Drat,
Phil Brockman would be an excellent choice. At least he should have been one of the top three. SPS does have some talented and well respected people.

Care about SPS

Watching said...

I agree with enough already. From the get-go Enoch wasn't sure if Seattle was a good fit. Husk with DUI etc. was a risk.

I'd wished HYA had put 5 people into the final selection. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Enough already -- I can't see why it would make a difference if Dr. Husk knows either Dr. E or Vickie Phillips. Certainly, if we had picked Phil Brockman, HE would have known at least Dr. E -- very well!

Unless you think that somehow an acquaintance between our current Superintendent and Dr. Husk affected the search committee (and I see no reason to think so -- Dr. E is VERY out of sight these days), I just can't see why it would matter. Now -- to the extent that the two of them share viewpoints that are harmful to the District (which can happen regardless of whether they know each other) -- THAT I care about. But I don't know Vickie, and don't dislike Dr. E (though I have not liked some of her decisions -- TfA, first Martin Floe, hiring Cathy to replace her position, etc.). I did, frankly, dislike MGJ -- that woman set off every danger nerve in my body from the first taped meeting I ever watched (the one where she assured folks that "district-centered" control of materials and methods would ONLY be imposed on "struggling" schools with dismal scores -- not schools (like GHS, RHS, Ballard, etc. that were having success generally) -- and every uncharitable, but ultimately correct, bone in my body said -- yeah, right!) At any rate, you clearly see an issue with a prior relationship between Dr. Husk and Dr.E/Vickie Phillips, making me think maybe I am missing something?

Jan

Anonymous said...

Watching -- I wonder if the Board asked for a short list of 3?

Jan

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jan. I think you made a good reckoning of Mr. Banda's position. Let's give him a chance to bring something different to Seattle.

n...

Watching said...

" I can't see why it would make a difference if Dr. Husk knows either Dr. E or Vickie Phillips"

One word: Cronyism

Who were the other candidates that were let go?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I believe the Board was presented with a list of 10 selected by HYA. I was told the Board also wanted the next 10 down so that they themselves had looked through more than just 10 files. These were the 3 it whittled down to.

Floor Pie said...

In retrospect it makes total sense. They wanted Husk all along and set up a Goldilocks thing with the other two finalists to make her look good. (Too old, too young, just right.) Some of you were saying that all along. Remind me to believe you next time.

I'm just sad for the blow to morale this is going to have. Will there really be a backlash against BEX IV?

Watching said...

Retrospectively, the board should have seen ALL applications. If privacy was an issue..the search firm should just remove name of candidate and district they work for. This assures transparency. At this point, it is hard to know if the search company was influencing process.