What I want to see in the makeup of a Blue Ribbon / Search Committee

ED Reform in my view is very clear on who hires a a School Superintendent:

Superintendent: The school committee has the power to select and terminate the superintendent, and to establish his or her compensation. (G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 37)

However there are many many other people who also want to be part of the hiring process and some School Committee members eager to capitulate and accept a lesser role. Let someone else do the screening, that way they have an excuse, it’s what we had to choose from.

Among those who want a say are people who don’t want to run for office but want to decide who gets the Superintendent position, people who previously served in office, ran out a Superintendent or someone who should have been the Superintendent when they served want a say, even some of those that supported the last Superintendent and the fiscal malfeasance want a say.

UTL leadership for example, they strongly supported the past administration right up until Dr. K gave up. Paul Georges and his leadership team blindly supported the fiscal malfeasance that allowed us to end up in the current fiscal mess and owing the Food Service Acct $2,000,000 yet want a majority of seats at the table.

I’ve had parents and staff including UTL rank and file members reach out to share their thoughts and ideas. I respect and appreciate that, it’s what can make the system and process better.

Here are my thoughts on this “Blue Ribbon” Committee

If we must have one , than this Blue Ribbon Committee doesn’t have to be as large has past ones and should be full of new voices and faces.

1) No more than a 13 member committee no less than 9 members

It’s time for New people, no one who has served on the School Building Committee or past searches should be appointed. It’s time for new faces, diverse faces and different voices to be heard.

With respect and appreciation for what they have done for the city and school system, I’d prefer not seeing Michael Gallagher, Brian Martin, Jim Cook, LZ Nunn , Paul Georges or Karen Fredericks on the list for consideration for this committee.

I’d Prefer names like Noelle Creegan, Dan or Lisa Shanahan, April Rourke , Kamara Kay among many other new names.

2) No more than 2 UTL members should be on the Committee.

3) One LSAA member (Administrators), one Principal and one Representative of the clerks union should be on the Committee

4) Talking with some members of the LHS student Council Wednesday night, they would like to be included and I think they should have 1 member

5) 3 parents one from each grade level and preferably parents with multiple students and parents who ARE NOT part of the Lowell Educational Justice League or Project Learn. I appreciate hearing from them on a regular basis, but based on the LJA’s support for the shoddy fiscal practices of the past administration , this opening should be for people not so involved and who don’t appear and speak at meetings so often. PTA or school Site Council members not affiliated with these groups should be encouraged to serve.

That would make the 9 minimum, if we wanted more than I’d favor adding

1 representative from one of the many volunteer youth sports / youth groups that are run citywide. Many use our facilities and work with our students.

1 representatives from nonprofits, it doesn’t have to be CTI, UTEC , the Food Bank, LHA and Katie’s Closet are great partners

1 member from the business community (any business run here in Lowell)

1 member from the Lowell Health Community

I’d also like to see the School Committee reach out and ask one of the following people to be our representative on the panel. A NON-Voting Chair of this Committee. Someone to make sure all applicants who are qualified get interviewed, someone to guide the meetings and questions that come up and someone who is strong enough to not let any one person or group control the meetings.

That list would include former GLRTHS School Committee member Erik Gitschier, Former Deputy Supt. Ann Murphy, Former Asst. Supt. Claire Abrams, Former Cambridge City Manager Bob Healy and former Sun Editor Jim Campanni

I am going to do what I believe is best for the student, the system and city. I appreciate the calls , emails, text messages and in person meetings and I pledge to follow policy and honor the rule of the majority.

2 thoughts on “What I want to see in the makeup of a Blue Ribbon / Search Committee

  1. Thank you for posting your thoughts about the proposed search committee to find the best superintendent for the Lowell Public Schools. Democracy works better when we engage in public conversation.

    I disagree with many of your positions. However, what saddened me the most was your statements about who ought to heard when it comes to decision-making. You state that people who do not want to run for office essentially give up their right to a voice in the process. You suggest that because an organization disagreed with the way the School Committee went about firing the last superintendent then they have no right to speak up in the process for hiring the next superintendent.

    The members of the Lowell Education Justice Alliance (no relation to Wonder Woman and her group called the Justice League, but thanks for thinking we are super-heroes) are asking for transparency in the workings of the school department, especially when it comes to hiring key figures in the administration. That members of LEJA and other groups regularly show up to SC meetings is a testament to their concern. Running for political office is not the only way to fully participate in our democracy. Citizens who take the time, when it is not their job to do so, are as integral a part of city government as any elected official.

    As a teacher in Lowell, as a tax-paying resident, as a voter, I am asking you to continue to engage in public discourse over this and all issues related to the Lowell Public School Department, but to engage with ALL stakeholders, even the ones who speak up, even the ones with whom you disagree.

    Laura Lamarre Anderson

    • There are many who don’t run for for office but are political players who try to influence the results surely you’ve heard of the old boy network. I supported the LEJA on the recess issue but was disappointed with the accusations of playing politics and threatening with not being re-election by some LEJA members from July through when Dr. K walked away. The group does good work but in my view many others deserve the right to be heard.Do you honestly think I only talk to people who agree with me? Apparently you don’t know me or haven’t followed me, I even supported Dr K on his Head of High School selection. I engage in plenty of discourse with people who are interested in discussing not threatening intimidation or bullying like members of your group and the UTL leader ship have shown

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