Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time to Try Something New?

We're looking for a new Superintendent of Schools (Supt) in Derby, our fourth one in a decade.

For our hiring process first we decide on what we are looking for in a Supt. The Board of Ed has the most say in this regard. Then we hire a professional search team to find some good candidates. Finally we look those candidates over carefully and make an offer.

So why do our Supts keep leaving before making the improvements they promise us and that we so dearly desire?

Are we looking for the wrong attributes? We always stress experience and someone who will "enjoy" working in a smaller, more challenging school district. So we end up with middle-aged individuals with lots of experience and who are artful in their response to the "Don't you just love little Derby"? question.

Fair enough. What kind of experience are we getting though? Are they good educators? Absolutely. Nice people? Yes. However, their experience (and age) lead them to follow the same patterns they've followed before - get settled in, see what needs fixing, try to get more money from the city to fix it.

This recipe is doomed to fail because Derby ain't rich! And, Derby isn't a stable, white-collar community (like the new Supt has usually come from). So when the new Supt realizes after a few years that he/she can't possibly succeed given the problems/funding in Derby ... they leave.

So, let's change our parameters! Let's hire a superintendent who is young, who has a fire in him/her to affect reform, who is local and knows the Valley, who will want to dig in and make this work. Someone who is pro online learning and not afraid to battle for regionalization.

Let's not hire the "same" Supt again or history will just repeat itself.


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  2. Dilution is the Solution. "Derby ain't rich" and it isn't going to get rich (substantially increasing grand list) anytime in near future. It's time to merge, or in this micro-example regionalize. Tough decisions ahead. Very Tough.

  3. I agree Tom. There is no part of this process that's going to be easy or painless. It's going to require change and people hate that. It's going to require collaboration and we aren't too skilled at that. And, it's going to require keeping an open mind ...

  4. Good Creative blog.