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Guest Opinion | Sally Iverson: Slow Down in Search For New Superintendent

Published on Monday, September 25, 2023 | 12:46 pm
 

According to Tuesday’s Board Meeting agenda, it appears from the proposed timeline that the Board would like to select, obtain input from stakeholders, interview candidates, and approve a new Superintendent by January 1, 2024. Why are we rushing to find a new Superintendent?

In the proposed timeline by LA Leadership Associates, it states: “Consultants confer with staff and community designated by the Board to receive input.” Why is the school board selecting community members to receive input? The voice of all community members should matter and not just of those few selected by the school board.

It is a disservice to the teachers (and staff), students, parents and community members to rush through a process that should be well thought out and executed in such a manner as to not make the same mistakes we’ve made in the past. For example, the school board gave the last superintendent 10 years and then even renewed his contract when we didn’t have to. Why? The school board’s rush to renew his contract cost us unnecessary monies that we could have used to increase salaries, purchase classroom materials, and other vital resources to improve student achievement. The school board should work on embracing and monitoring data in order to determine whether systems or resources are working prior to making decisions that affect the district.

It is truly a shame to have an interim superintendent lay out a 100-day plan and not see it through. Dr. Blanco is a person who understands the culture of the school district and has a vision which is laid out in her 100-day plan. This plan aligns with the 5 (five) year strategic plan that the Board itself was intimately involved with and approved. If the goal is students’ well-being and academic achievement, then the Board should allow the completion of the 100-day plan and obtain stakeholders feedback and other metrics. Changing leaders and or plans midway through the school year (and not seeing it through completion) is sending mixed messages to everyone. An effective school board leads as a united team with the superintendent, each from their respective roles, with strong collaboration and mutual respect/trust. It’s very disheartening to watch members of the school board being divided and bickering at board meetings when the common goal should be the achievement of our students. This is not a good example to set for our students and the public.

In my opinion, it appears that the current board has its own agenda and does not care or value the feedback from its teachers (and staff), students, parents, and community members. As an educator in this District for almost two decades, please prove me wrong. Let the process of selecting a new superintendent be done correctly. Based on the proposed timeline, it states that community involvement/feedback would be obtained through a survey from September 27th through October 11th. A simple online survey will not suffice. Does the school board really want input from its stakeholders or is this just a way to say they received stakeholder feedback as usual? Please bring stakeholders to the table and stop denying stakeholders the ability to share in the decision-making process. This should be a transparent process. We all watched how Columbus City School District in Ohio allowed input from its stakeholders in many different ways (and in a transparent manner) as they made their selection of a new Superintendent. Everyone deserves to have a voice in determining whether what is being proposed is what is really needed. Short of that – this hypocrisy of top down making decisions is too much to bear. It smacks of autocracy.

As a classroom teacher, I came to realize early on that success meant having a plan and allowing enough time to truly see if the lessons or methodology was working. If I changed too quickly, students came to see that I was unsure and that created chaos in the classroom.

I would hope that the school board takes their roles seriously and can keep the process of selecting a new superintendent in a transparent manner and one in which truly respects and embraces community involvement in every step of the process – not just a simple survey.

With so much at stake, let’s take our time here folks. As trustees, you promised to focus on our academic institutions– first and foremost. Show us that is why you serve. Please do not fail our students and parents that we are here to serve.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sally Iverson

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