Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Let the Search Begin

Attention: Roger, Elaine, Lu, Tim, Tom, Carmen...

To have a new superintendent recruited, vetted, hired and ready to serve by July is going to require much of the Fayette County School Board and its Chairman John Price. The work begins tomorrow.

This from Jim Warren at the Herald-Leader:

Stu Silberman, who has been superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools since 2004, announced Tuesday he will step down effective Sept. 1.

The Fayette County Board of Education has scheduled a meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday to discuss the search for a new superintendent. Board members are required by law to name a screening committee to review superintendent applicants. The board also has the option of hiring an outside search firm to find applicants.

Board chairman John Price said Tuesday he wants to have the screening committee in place within 30 days. He hopes a new superintendent can be on board by July 1, so the person can have a few days working with Silberman before he leaves. Silberman's last work days will be in July, district officials said...

...Silberman's retirement and the Jefferson County School Board's recent decision not to renew Superintendent Sheldon Berman's contract means Kentucky's two largest school districts are looking for superintendents. But Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said that shouldn't hinder Fayette County in its recruiting efforts.

Under state law, the board's screening committee must be composed of two teachers; a board member; a principal; a parent and one classified district employee. The committee could review applicants and submit a list of finalists to the school board, although board members are not required to appoint someone from that list.

The board might consider procedures that were used when Silberman was hired in 2004, Price said. Back then, the district held public forums at which residents could question finalists.

"We want the maximum amount of community input," Price said.

Elsewhere in the article, Warren referred to Stu's rough patches where I was asked to weigh in.

...Silberman also had some rough patches, including the controversial 2007 resignation of Booker T. Washington Academy Principal Peggy Petrilli. An in-house district report accused Petrilli of testing improprieties, but the state Department of Education later said it couldn't find enough evidence to support that. Petrilli sued the school district, claiming she was forced out, but a jury ultimately rejected the claim. She has asked for a new trial.

Silberman also drew fire last year over the school board's 4-1 vote to outsource its legal services. Board member Amanda Ferguson sharply opposed the plan. Richard Day — an education blog moderator and former Fayette elementary school principal — later suggested that outsourcing was a disguised plan by Silberman to get rid of the board's in-house attorney, Brenda Allen. The board signed a $200,000 settlement with Allen in August.

On Tuesday, Day said Silberman had "come down a little heavy" on some other personnel matters over the years, but gave him a "95 percent good" rating.

"You can't address today's challenges while trying to make everybody happy," Day said. "We can say he should have done this or that ... but in the end he's shown himself to be a strong superintendent who was not afraid to lead."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do hope the Board of Education understands that the Michelle Rhee type of superintendent will not work as a replacement for Stu Silberman.

Mr. Silberman had the support of the parents because he gave them what they wanted. What he did not have was the suppport of most of the teaching staff.

Teachers are degreed professionals. Mr. Silberman never understood that. Often times his contempt for free thinkers, and those who questioned him, was not concealed.

I urge the Board to hire a superintendent who holds the parents as accountable for student progress as the teachers.