>The Board of Education has re-hired School Leadership LLC to find another new superintendent. They are using the following criteria, which they say was developed with the help of the community. We need a serious intervention or we will end up with another Brooks — cagey, duplicitous, ideologically extreme and smooth as silk. I suggest a complete retooling of these six criteria (listed below) as they are outlined in jargon, education platitudes and gobbledygook. Some suggestions might include the following:
*1. An educator with significant leadership experience, preferably as a superintendent, in a high-expectation school community–
How about: A CEO type individual with experience in business and education (not being a life-long educrat is a big plus) whom others in diverse constituencies have been willing to follow and respect, and who is resilient in the face of diminished expectations emanating from our present school board and curriculum head. A person whose services remain in demand, and for whom we must compete rather than someone who was “let go” by his or her former employer.
*2. An exceptional listener and communicator, with outstanding speaking, writing and interpersonal skills, who has built trust among all members of a school community–
How about: A person for whom honesty is the best policy. One who values forthrightness and frank discussions with parents, students, staff, consultants and the school board. The ability to be a “smooth talker” is not a requirement.
*3. A visible instructional leader, willing to first become intimately acquainted with the Ridgewood schools and community and then share a compelling vision and plan for continued growth–
How about: A person already knowledgeable of the tenets that constituted Ridgewood’s past tradition of excellence, and one for whom that goal would be at the heart of the district’s continued growth.
*4. An administrator who empowers others to carry out the district’s goals but remains accountable for all areas of leadership, including finance and facilities–
Sorry, but an administrator is just another word for a bureaucrat. Administrators do not empower people, rather they employ the leadership survival tools of CYA. No administrator bureaucrat type need apply (see 1).
*5. A strong leader, with demonstrated success in contributing to an effective approach to governance involving the Board, the staff and the school community–
Interesting that parents and taxpayers are notably absent from this particular sentence. How about: Someone who expects to be accountable to parents and taxpayers for the direction of Ridgewood’s schools.
*6. A proven educator, flexible and caring, who will passionately advocate for the learning needs of all (their emphasis) students in the Ridgewood Public Schools–
To whom exactly must this flexible and caring person advocate? How about: A person able to display powerful knowledge of the nation’s education system, including its strengths but, more importantly, its weaknesses so that efforts can be undertaken to limit the system’s harmful byproduct to the education process. Such byproducts include efforts promoted by schools of education to implement more non-academic programs in the classroom; efforts by education publishers to advocate, promote and sell dubious and controversial product; efforts by the teachers union and its supporters to lessen instructional time and add perks to compensation agreements; and efforts to gear curriculum and assessments to merely address statewide standards for proficient student performance.
Adding a 7th:
Someone able to clean up the present inequity and overall weakness of our math program and set our curriculum selections on course to be challenging while ensuring that all students receive the proper support in school to achieve at the standards of a Ridgewood education.
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