Erwin said that the 1998 listing was a mistake and that she has been named superintendent of the year once, not twice.
"There must have been a typo from two different sets of resumes," she said. "I have had several people type my resume, and that has to be what the issue is."
Erwin said in a phone interview today that there was "no intention" on her part to make it look like as if she was a two-time superintendent of the year. "Heavens, no," she said.
- 1997 TASB Supt of the Year
- 1998 TASA Supt of the Year, and
- 1999 nominee for AASA Supt of the Year
If this is true, then I don't understand the typo explanation. A typo that mistakes an 8 for a 9 (one keystroke), OK. I can see that. (Of course that does nothing to explain why the error was not caught on review, but that's another matter.) But an error including a new line of text, a new year and a new organization which supposedly made the award? That's one heck of a typo.)
This from the Herald-Leader:
Nominee for top post is criticized
Management style called 'dictatorial'
Critics of the woman tapped to become the next Kentucky education commissioner say they are surprised she was considered for the post because she has a turbulent history with districts she's led in the past 13 years.
"You don't come in and explode the place and leave the place in rubble," said Bill Page, a St. Charles parent who has been critical of Erwin in columns he wrote for the Kane County Chronicle. "If you look at her history, she comes into a district, she turns it on its ear, causes a lot of turmoil, and then she's gone."
This from the Herald-Leader.
Board stands by its choice for state schools chief despite complaints
Kentucky Board of Education members said they will move forward with hiring Barbara Erwin as the state’s education commissioner despite negative reports of her conduct in former school districts.
“The board has identified her as a candidate and has no reason to not proceed on that as a plan,” said board chairman Keith Travis. “It almost seems like all the positive things that Dr. Erwin has done has been negated by a small group of people.”
More from the Herald-Leader:
Commissioner hiring will move forward
LIKELY STATE SCHOOLS CHIEF CRITICIZED FOR WORK ELSEWHERE
She accepted the position in Kentucky last week. The board must ratify her contract at its May 9-10 retreat. Erwin is expected to start July 1 with a base salary of $220,000.
"When a leader has to make difficult decisions, 100 percent of the people are not going to be happy," said Erwin, who is still eager to become commissioner. "The people that are the unhappiest tend to speak the loudest."
The resume blunder and reports about Erwin's past performance have led some to question the work of the search firm hired to find a new commissioner. Ray and Associates Inc., based in Iowa, worked with a search committee of board members to find the successor for Gene Wilhoit, who left the commissioner post in November to become executive director of an education advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
"Clearly the search firm has let the board down," said Bob Sexton, executive director for the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. "They put (the board) in a very bad spot. There will be people that are negative and positive (about candidates). But it's the search firm's job to sort that out and find out the truth."
The school board has a contract with the firm for up to $50,000. This includes the firm's base fee of $32,000, plus about $1,000 for preparation of the informational flier and application form, an estimated $8,000 for applicant interviews, about $4,300 for the firm's travel expenses, and other fees. The firm has not yet been paid.
(The spouse of a school board member in St Charles tells me that Ray & Associates was also retained to find Erwin's replacement in Illinois.)
This from the Courier-Journal:
A flawed selection
Kentucky has staked too much on developing a more ambitious and effective state school system to accept a second-rate choice as the new commissioner of education.
Whether that's what Barbara Erwin is remains to be seen. But enough has now come out about her record to dictate a rethinking of the state school board's obviously flawed selection process.
The board should be unhappy with the work product of the search firm it hired. Chairman Keith Travis and his fellow board members should not have been surprised by important and disturbing background information dug up by newspaper reporters (and I feel certain they meant to include bloggers. Probably just forgot) in Louisville and Lexington. A proper search avoids unexpected whammies.
Finalist doesn't seem to fit education job
Still, the state board should pay attention when a former school board member from a district where Erwin was superintendent says that "she divided this community and made it very difficult for people to even work together. Divide and conquer, that was the mentality."
Or, when a parent from the district that Erwin is leaving says, "If you look at her history, she comes into a district, she turns it on its ear, causes a lot of turmoil, and then she's gone."
Managing conflict and unifying rival interests are high on the commissioner's to-do list.
The commissioner is also responsible for providing leadership to 1,249 schools in 175 local school districts; running the 400-employee Department of Education and working with an appointed board and elected governor and legislature to develop policy and budgets. It's a tough job, sometimes even a snake pit.
Since the post was created as part of the 1990 school reforms, all three commissioners have come from bigger jobs than any Erwin has held.