Given the history of the district , given the politics of the city, given the district’s finances, the meddling of the City Solicitor, political interference by the former and current Mayor, a School Committee member who makes false and misleading statements in public regularly (desegregation information is very public on School Website) and a couple committee members who still believe that the past administration was the best, this Superintendent search will be a challenging one.
Regardless of all these things we owe it to our students to find a strong leader who will improve our educational experience and move us in a positive direction.
I have publicly stated that Mrs. Durkin has a lot of internal knowledge, has done a great job under very trying circumstances and that she should apply if she wants to continue in the job. I did attempt to meet with her to ask her about her desire to continue but she informed me the Mayor told her she wasn’t allowed to discuss that with individual members and wouldn’t have that discussion.
I would like to see someone in the role permanently by the start of next school year, but would support extending the deadline and Mrs. Durkin by a year if it would mean allowing Mrs. Durkin the opportunity to show she can lead without undue pressure, legal or political! or by having the district more stabilized and attracting better candidates. It would also allow the next School Committee (whoever they are) to set the course at the start of their term.
The district needs a superintendent with a firm grasp on finances and experience in a diverse urban district. I would like someone who could commit to the district for five to six years to provide continuity for the high school project.
Someone who will stand up and lead not give in to the political atmosphere or pressure from one union leadership group. The district needs someone who will work with and communicate with EVERY School Committee member equally, not cave to a Mayor’s politic need for power or petty political revenge. Someone who will work in partnership with the City not be an adversary towards the Manager and administration.
Someone who won’t allow the City Lawyer or anyone to skew an “independent audit” and allow the character attack against an employee as we witnessed in the financial audit. Someone who will appoint Principals who are leaders and let them lead. Someone who can work with EVERY Union not just over capitulate to one big mouth bully and union leadership they also socialize with, someone who shows all Union leaders the same respect.
We need a leader who isn’t afraid to meet regularly with the media, radio, newspaper and cable shows to promote the many good things happening in our district, not try to duck and cover and not respond to why situations were handled in a certain way. You have to deal with the bad if you want to promote the good.
The task is tough, the political climate which needs to be changed tougher but I firmly believe we have the opportunity to find that leader, in fact for the sake of our students and district we must change the way we’ve always done things and find leadership to improve the educational experience for ALL our students.