As you know, one of the issues I’ve had with the Board of Education and Superintendent is how out of touch they are with the parents of the district. They have marched in lockstep for years, with no shortage of kudos all around, believing that this is a world class school district. At the strategic planning meetings it was stressed that this is a VERY high performing district and all we needed were a few “tweaks”. The eye rolls from the teachers and parents on the team told me all I needed to know. Twelve months later we were embroiled in a nasty contract negotiation that brought several issues to light, every single one leading to the same conclusion, that the leaders of the district are not interested in any opinion that disagrees with their own.
Over 500 people, which roughly equates to one third of the families in the district, signed a petition of no confidence, feeling that this BOE has lost the credibility it needs to hire the next Superintendent. Even so, the BOE and Supt continue to believe this to be a problem involving only a “vocal few.” Not possible, right? We all saw the Shepard gym packed to the gills for those board meetings earlier in the year. We heard the pleas from parents that just want their issues addressed. They couldn’t possibly believe the “resistance” is so small. Think again.
At a recent meeting with PTO parents, Superintendent Goier expressed her frustration that the “vocal few who post on the Patch” have made the district distasteful for potential Superintendent candidates. President London said that in all her 12 years on the Board there were never these kinds of problems. These comments were made in the presence of PTO parents mind you, some of them whose signatures adorn the no-confidence petition. If the resistance is so insignificant, why would you make these comments? Why would a potential superintendent candidate care about one or two loudmouth jerks? I think these two ladies know exactly the size of the problem. A problem they had no small role in creating.
At any rate, I wish to allay Ms. London and Ms. Goier’s concerns. There is nothing stronger than an engaged community. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and whoever they are, I agree with them. The number of people who have requested applications to run for the Board is larger than it has been in years, and that’s fantastic. There will be real discourse about our educational system. This IS a high performing district, due to great parents and dedicated teachers. With the right leadership, it can be a great one.
So fear not, Superintendent candidates. If you are qualified, hard-working, and dedicated to satisfying the customers of your district, we will embrace you. There are few districts that have as engaged a parent group as we do. We raise money, and lots of it. We volunteer in the schools. We help our kids with their homework. We cheer when they sing off-key at their recitals. We want the best and we expect the best, both from our schools and ourselves.