Monday, March 7, 2016

No, this isn't what one would expect for Worcester finalists

I got the question a few times over the past few days: is this list of finalists what one would expect of a district the size of Worcester?

In a word: No.

The most recent opening in Massachusetts in a district of similar size was Springfield, which hired Daniel Warwick in 2012 when Alan Ingram left to join DESE. Warwick, who had been deputy superintendent in Springfield for a number of years, was one of two finalists interviewed by the Springfield School Committee. The other finalist was the Monroe County School District (FL) superintendent, who prior to that job had been the chief operations officer for that district. 

Boston did a national search last year for its superintendent, which resulted in their hiring Tommy Chang, the Los Angeles local instructional superintendent for the LA school district. Their other finalists were all superintendents or deputy superintendents in their various school districts: Bedden the Richmond, VA superintendent; Guerrero the deputy superintendent in San Francisco; and Martinez as superintendent-in-residence in Nevada. 

Cambridge hired the superintendent of Weymouth Kenneth Salim for their superintendent last fall (he starts in July). Their pool of finalists (the search committee interviewed seven and narrowed it to three) also included Framingham superintendent Stacy Scott (who had been superintendent in Dracut before that) and former Holyoke superintendent Sergio Paez (who had been manager of ELL and students support in Worcester prior to Holyoke). 

In December, Barnstable hired Meg Mayo-Brown as superintendent; she currently is the superintendent in Fall River. The other finalists for that position were both assistant superintendents in other Massachusetts school districts. Barnstable had 19 applicants that were narrowed to eight semi-finalists.

Last spring, when Lowell searched for a new superintendent, they hired Winchedon superintendent Salah Khelfaoui. There were five finalists for that positionformer superintendent of Memphis City Schools; the executive director for educational options in Boston Public Schools; the former Marlboro Superintendent; and their own Lowell Assistant Superintendent. That search had 22 applicants and a semi-finalist round of ten.

In 2013, when New Bedford searched for a new superintendent, they hired Pia Durkin, the superintendent of the Attleboro district. The other finalists were the outgoing superintendent of the Memphis Public Schools, and Steve Zrike, who was the Chief of Schools for Pilsen-Little Village Elementary Network in Chicago and now is receiver in Holyoke. The district had received 36 applications and had conducted interviews with six semi-finalists.

I could go on and on, but let's leave it with this:
  • for the chief administrator of a system of 44 schools 
  • the manager of nearly 4000 employees 
  • the day-to-day overseer of a budget of $370 million
  • the one ultimately responsible for the education of 24,000 kids

  • No, these are not the finalists that I would expect.

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