Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Superintendent Search Process

In this article, a Minneapolis paper ponders the superintendent search process.

More than anything else, it demonstrates the lack of a deep candidate pool for these jobs across the nation. I would guess that many of these jobs have less than 10-20 qualified applicants.


At Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Blogger annie said...

Dear Supes:

I would have to say that the pool is deep alright, but it is very murky....

Take a look at what is happening out here on the East Coast for instance. As a matter of fact, this candidate has criss-crossed our country so many times that he may have an interstate on the Superintendents Super-Highway named after him....

From the Post:

Prince George’s is offering its new chief $250,000, a jump of nearly $100,000 from Deasy’s current base salary of $154,351 as reported in the California 2003-2004 school accountability report card.

That is what you call a very FAT salary leap. But there is more....

From the Santa Monica LookOut News:

Controversy seems to follow John Deasy. In fact the legacy he left as superintendent during his three years at the helm of the 6,000-student school district in Coventry, Rhode Island is still being debated after his abrupt resignation in April 2001, a week-long investigation by The Lookout has found.

and more still:

“It is apparent that our former Schools Superintendent had grand dreams for the Coventry School District,” Dufour wrote. “It is also apparent that Deasy skipped town without filling the rest of us in on how he intended to pay for those dreams.”

April 11 -- In April 2001, shortly after renewing his contract, John Deasy handed in his resignation as superintendent of schools in Coventry, Rhode Island.

Deasy’s sudden resignation left the small district of 6,000 students he had headed since 1996 in a leadership crisis. Deasy’s last day would be June 1, and officials were put in the unenviable position of effectively having two months to find a replacement.

Last fall, Deasy signed a new three year contract as superintendent of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. Escarce is aware this is probably not Deasy’s last stop, but he is hopeful he will serve until his contract is up.

“The question to ask is whether he would do so again?" Spears said, referring to Deasy's decision to leave Coventry after signing a new contract.

One of just 18 applicants chosen nationwide to receive a prestigious Eli Broad Superintendents Academy grant, Deasy will spend seven long weekends in the company of a cadre of educators and business, government and military leaders who aspire to take charge of the nation"s toughest urban schools.

Number one on his list was "raising the achievement level for all students and closing the achievement gap." His other two goals support the first "being mindful about targeting resources" and "getting everyone focused on the same goal."

Deasy's second three-year contract with the Santa Monica-Malibu school district expires July 1, 2007.

Prince George's County Public Schools expects to announce its decision next week, according to local press reports.

SO--the question is: When is it okay to call "educators and business, government and military leaders" a cadre?

AND--the answer is: When you are riding high on the Superintendent's Super-Highway.

Don't worry, the expenses are our treat!

At Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Blogger 1citizen said...

Let's see. I have 3 undergraduate degrees, went to law school, and have 2 master's degrees in finance and international busienss. Yet, because I don't have a few silly credits worth of education classes, I am unqualified to be a school superintendent.
The edu-estab has managed to create a pseudo-elitist aura around this position, so no wonder its so hard to find one.


At Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...


My personal opinion is that all education licensure criteria including teacher licensing should be loosened up considerably. It would do wonders for changing the educational culture to open it up to degreed people with other backgrounds.

No problem with me on that one.

I may be in the minority in the profession on this one I don't know.

At Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Blogger annie said...

It is no secret that our state secretary of ed promotes compliance with NCLB. She is always available for NCLB photo/media opportunities. She also has been said to have some further political aspirations.


Certainly there is a specific KIND of applicant that would/could be enticed to apply for a position here. In Prince Georges County, for instance, there were SIXTY SIX applicants. AND at possibly twice that salary, I am thinking we might have gotten some 100 or more.

It hasn't leaked yet.

But, it isn't hard to see how high the stakes are the closer you get to a large district, which translates into lots of NCLB-related funds and interest, and which holds more political clout.

Unfortunately, the business, military and political portion of the "cadre" happens to have hogged the agenda when it comes to this big edu-business.

Buddying up with the politicians who have mile-high hopes of benefiting from supporting NCLB are our local media investors. In this area we have the Post with it's most profitable company: Kaplan enterprises.

You know Kaplan, the books, tutors, test-help company. They have had profits through the roof from their associated and supplimental educational services. Thats the Washington Post company, and they have joined in the chorus for further NCLB growth and are chanting in support of snagging our colleges and universities in the NCLB net.

Well, why not? We are talking a LOT of $$$$$$$$$.

The SUPERhighway is just not for the meek or weak at heart, you see. High stakes really stands for much more as the districts get larger...

I keep thinking that some of these people in power will recognize their faulty ideals (power), their greed (money, money, money), see the reality of who is being sacrificed (the kids), and how (by screwing up their schools and screwing over their teachers)...


Is there a chance that our local school board and it's hired search team might look with integrity and honest sincerity, beyond the forceful demands of political and business leadership, and give us a leader who is going to stand up for our children, our schools, our teachers, our future?

THAT'S the question isn't it.

Let me remind you folks in smaller districts...Keep your eyes on the big districts now, cause what happens here is bound to have a big effect on what is coming to your neighborhood next....

At Thursday, February 16, 2006, Anonymous historian said...

Two funny things:

1. The school board hires and fires the superintendant and makes general scale educational decisions that support and direct curriculum and economics in the school district. Required qualifications: A pretty face and votes. I agree with the statement that qualifications and requirements could and should be tweaked for superintendants. The hiring practice needs to change with the times.

I see it as being similar to (believe it or not) Catholic priests. The Roman Catholic Church suffers from the same problem. The requirements for a person to perform the "job" function have become fairly narrow and, while seeking to obtain a "qualified" person, each organization has actually ended up narrowing down the field of candidates to a certain niche of people who's motivation for being involved in the two areas are more and more frequently based around profit of one sort or another. Both pools of qualified (and honest) candidates are shrinking. The first place to try and change that is through reform in the "qualifications" that a person must have in order to be considered for the "job".

Personally, I work in Information Technology, and have no direct, mesurable and "paper" qualifications to be employed as I am. The qualifications I DO have are experience, penchant, and attitude. The flexibility needs to be present to be able to look at the character, quality and knowledge of a person interviewing for the job of superintendent, and sometimes let that override more appealing "paper" qualifications.

2. With some fun editing; I look forward to "a cadre of... military leaders... to take charge of the nation's toughest urban schools". And we always shake our heads and armed police officers and high fences around some urban schools!

At Thursday, February 16, 2006, Blogger annie said...

looks like they intend to hire the guy. both he and Ms. Peebles both were trained by the Broad Academy.
and in Minn. they also just got rid of another supe. he was a retired AIR FORCE COLONEL!!!

ever get the feeling that things are getting just a little too creepy?

At Thursday, February 16, 2006, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...

This is slightly off the topic of superintendent searches but Historian hints at a crucial area of school reform that is so seldom tackled it seems that there is a big taboo on the subject.

That is - school board reform. Locally elected lay boards are so popular across America that it is not likely to be changed anytime soon. Attempts to restrict boards to policy setting functions through legislative actions has been largely unsuccessful.

Hence school boards get to choose what roles they wish to play. They can stick to policy setting or they can micro-manage to their hearts content.

At Friday, February 17, 2006, Blogger annie said...

YOU are right on the mark, Supes...

here's another example of the stressful and precarious life of an honest supe trying to do his supe job:,0,2883863.story?coll=hc-headlines-home

it looks like there are several tiers for supes...and depending on the local political atmosphere, you have local gov't or the school board (depending on their status) operating as henchmen to satisfy the local political agenda.

out here our school board is appointed by our gov... as you can imagine, the position is often just a stepping stone for people with political aspirations.

so, in our case, with a republican governor we ultimately have a group of people on the school board with no credentials or experience in education making decisions which are rooted in favors and affiliations with the political machine.

back to the tier concept-- there does appear to be a caste system evolving. at the upper rungs, you have the supes competing for the top-dollar positions. it is becoming very popular to join ranks of opportunists who win their positions by touting their allegiance to the current government-endorsed NCLB goals.

if you are a supe looking to make the big bucks, you really need to join ranks with the broad academy who will have their business and military staff get you all prepared to attack your schools with cannons loaded with tests and "accountability" standards.

it seems to me, this tier is NOT for the meek or timid at heart--and it certainly requires an active dedication to the mandates and political agenda of your standard fare party-puppet.

a good example is rudy crew in miami. the guy is a great match for shrub's bro. while he quietly stashes his enormous take, he has no more important job than to "prove" that the policies of NCLB "work."

it doesn't seem to matter anymore whether statistics are valid or whether they are hype with many hidden variables of harm and inadequacy. the high and mighty just want the "bottom line" and that is often, as you know, a process of fabrication and manipulation.

at the lower tiers, you have perhaps the last army of honest and decent supes. these are the people who are invested in their community, stay put, care deeply about the children and the teachers and the schools.

i agree that these people are often the scapegoat of local politics as well.

it is amazing that the community and especially the parents and teachers are so complacent about being left out of the decision process for their own schools.

if i were the king, i would help to facilitate these important stakeholders into the process. it is well time to try to get the teachers and the parents to demand a say in such an important matter as schools.

you are a smart, successful, experienced supe...can you tell me how to reverse the tides and get the teachers and parents informed and active before the whole school system is privatized?


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