Sunday, April 14, 2013

What Should We Look For in a New Superintendent? Survey Results, Part III

Forty people took my survey! Here are the results. I've split them into three parts. Part III is the post you are reading: Looking to the future, what qualities do you think are important for the next superintendent?

Part I: Did you have personal experiences with Pat Green? Based on those experiences, how did you feel about her? Can you give concrete examples?

Part II: Do you have any thoughts/ideas about why Pat Green is leaving?

And then there is what you could think of as Part IV: My Commentary.

Part III: Looking to the future, what qualities do you think are important for the next superintendent?

Vision, gets A2.

Someone who will stay a while and will see assessment as an evil that must be minimized, not voluntarily expanded.

Clean up the building principal ranks. 

Lower pay. Knows the district. Can hit the ground running. Can listen to what teachers have to say. Is willing to work with the diverse community but also the diversity of programs. Understands how to foster better teaching and more investment from the community.

Someone who is clearly not one step away from retirement.  Stop the revolving door. It hurts the district. 

An in house candidate?

Superintendents who are nearing the end of their career and who are likely to retire are the sorts of people who might not last a long time in the superintendent's job.

Someone who comes up with solutions, not excuses as to why we can't do something

Internal candidate or local leader.  Someone who will lead the district, rather than manage.  Collaboration is key.

Transparency, working with the community, interaction with teachers and parents.

Experience with AAPS.

Perseverance, local ties.

We need someone who will use the "bully pulpit" to reach out and engage the community, as well as be active in advocacy to preserve our local public schools. We need someone who can take on the AAPS "culture," separate good from bad, and fix issues of leadership and trust.

Someone more invested in the community.

Hire from within, or at least nearby. Find someone who knows AA, knows the mess of Michigan politics, and isn't trying to impose some model they developed elsewhere without knowing about this community and what our priorities are. And who won't run when the job proves to be difficult.

        I would also appreciate it if the hiring process took into account more of the superintendent's philosophy and education background. How about we recruit the Clarkston Superintendent?

Communication, visibility, toughness.

See above. [Ed. Note: I think commenter means his/her earlier comment as to why Pat Green is leaving. The comment related to the large size of the impending budget cuts.] Someone has to get the entire city behind the fact that public schools are under a heavily funded, coordinated siege from big-business, school privatization interests. Everybody needs to man the ramparts or they will take down the public schools and children will be force-fed their ""education"" in office parks, at computer terminals administered by minimum wage attendants. Think McDonalds. All special programs such as art, theater, sports, special ed, film-making, etc., will be served a la carte for extra $$. 

       If you look at the education-related companies with public stock, they are involved in testing prep (Kaplan- the Wash Post! no wonder they get great press coverage..), charter schools (K12, BASIS, CSMC, Edison, NHA, etc), food service, maintenance contracting, ""education"" software (News Corp!!). If you wonder why the curriculum has gone so far toward standardized testing, look who's making money in test prep; If you wonder why school lunch programs are stuck in the 60's, look who's making money shoveling that crap at our kids; if you wonder why all the big ideas involve computers in the classroom, look who will make money getting rid of teachers; and so on...
      Someone needs to step forward and make people understand that this is what is happening and that everyone needs to pitch in or there will be no stopping it. 
      In the early 70's, think tanks were staring at, what is now, a $500b education budget and started scheming to get their hands on it. 40 years later...

Don't be bullied by the BOE.

Someone who knows Ann Arbor, who has risen from the ranks, perhaps. Someone who is communicative and is a willing part of the community. Someone who REALLY wants to stay for 8 years or more.Don't spend thousands of dollars on a consultant to help with the search, either.

Someone who knows the district's history, is truly involved and engrossed in the community, someone who has teaching experience, someone who is truly an advocate for teachers and students, not just testing.

Strong commitment to educational equity. Long-term commitment to community.

Great communication skills (not just sending out e-mails) - making very public appearances, recording videos of short inspirational talks, being visible in ALL schools, making some clear decisions, and not being afraid to cut administrative and superintendent pay.

"Man" of the people, good with finances.

Commitment to the community, understanding of Michigan education system and funding models (cuz we are weird).

Visible leadership in the community.  Visionary leadership.

1. continue line item accounting - it just seems reasonable.

2. good people skills - listening, communicating, directing.  
3. willing to talk about the achievement gap so that our whole community understands why it is important to them to reduce/eliminate it.  We need to really keep communication open about this - especially when we need to start making some deep cuts.  
4.  coordinate with the AAEF to fund X  and Y so that class sizes stay small and we can keep our ""specials.""  for example, in budget talks, say ""we can't raise taxes to pay teachers, but we can give money to AAEF so that they can pay our Media Specialists so our schools have this valuable teacher resource.""  We do this for 3-5 grade spanish, why not with other programs?
5.  It would be great if the new superintendent could tap into the resources in our community that are willing to get involved, but just historically get shut down.  Parents in the schools are a good thing - statistics show that involved parents = higher achieving students.  Our communities most valuable assets are not the dollars we make, but the skills and expertise that we can share.  

Able to serve as an intermediary and a translator between the public and the AAPS staff. Ability to offer some resistance to the tendency to technocratically manage ("Balasize") the district as a collection of abstract assets and liabilities.

Someone who is familiar with the Ann Arbor School district. Staff at all levels have made sacrifices in the recent past so the students would not feel the cuts (pay cuts, wage freeze, specials and support teachers taking on two or more buildings, etc). With each change of Superintendent and School Board that is getting forgotten.  

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