Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Prichard Committee names Silberman as new executive director

Veteran educator recognized as state,
national leader for student achievement,
school improvement

Long-time school superintendent and education leader Stu Silberman was named Wednesday as executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Silberman, who recently announced his retirement as superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools, has been recognized by state and national education organizations for his student-centered leadership initiatives and his successful efforts to raise student achievement.

Silberman said, "It has always been my intent to make a difference in the lives of our children through public education, and I have been blessed to serve in positions that have enabled that opportunity. It is still my intent to make this difference, and I am honored by the opportunity to do this with the Prichard Committee. I have been a believer in the work of the Prichard Committee since I arrived in Kentucky in 1995. I believe this organization has and will continue to have a huge impact on the future of Kentucky's kids."

Silberman succeeds Dr. Robert F. Sexton, the committee's founding executive director who died in August 2010. Under Sexton's leadership, the Prichard Committee became a nationally recognized model for citizen engagement on behalf of improving education at all levels. The nonprofit citizens' organization, with members from across Kentucky, was founded in 1983.

"Since Bob Sexton's death, we have focused on honoring his legacy by continuing the important work that framed his career of public service," noted committee Chair Sam Corbett of Louisville. "The board is thrilled that Stu Silberman has agreed to lead that effort in the years ahead. We know he will bring his own special energy, creativity and vision to the Prichard Committee as we continue our push for the best possible education for every student in the Commonwealth."

Silberman became superintendent in Fayette County in 2004 following nine years in Owensboro as Daviess County superintendent. His 37-year career in education also included service in Tennessee as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and deputy superintendent. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and completed post master's studies in educational leadership at the University of Alabama.

Silberman, who will assume the Prichard Committee position on September 1, emphasized that his decision to accept the Prichard Committee position played no role in his retirement as Fayette County's superintendent, which is effective August 31.

"When I announced my retirement I said that I was still interested in doing something where I could make a difference for kids but at the same time be more available to my family," he said. "I had no idea that it would happen this fast. To work with an organization that has made such a difference for kids is truly a blessing, and it is my hope to be able to continue the great work that has been going on."

Among his many honors, Silberman has been named the Kentucky Superintendent of the Year three times and a National Superintendent of the Year finalist. The University Council for Educational Administration recognized him with its National Excellence in School Leadership Award in 2010, when he also was named National Administrator of the Year for World Languages. His community and civic activities have included serving on the boards of the United Way, Boy Scouts and the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra and memberships in the Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations.

Stu and his wife, Kathy, have three grown daughters and one granddaughter.

SOURCE: Prichard Committee Press Release


Anonymous said...

I don't know how to express my disappointment with Mr. Silberman's appointment. Early on, my parents taught me how to spot a prevaricator, and I discovered one in our midst in 2004.

Not for a moment do I believe that this man who ran off FCPS legal counsel Brenda Allen, who attempted to accuse Peggy Petrelli of falsifying data, and who had a guidance counselor who made a civil rights complaint escorted from her school is a suitable replacement to Dr. Robert Sexton.

Spike my post if you must, but these are my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Something doesn't add up.... back in the fall Mr. Silberman was committed to FCPS for ten years, then Feb 1st Mr. Silberman out of no where announces that he is retiring to spend more time with his granddaughter and one month later he announces that he is the new Executive Director of the Prichard Committe. Retirement sure did not last long. Sounds fishy to me!

Penney Sanders said...

As everyone hails Silberman's appointment, I just want to say thank you to Cindy Heine who has kept the Committee going since Bob's death. Cindy has been a long-time advocate for education and has been instrumental in ensuring that Bob Sexton's legagcy continues. As is the case so often, the real worker bees never get the credit and recognitiion they deserve.

So Cindy, some of us have noticed your hard work and dedication over the years and THANK YOU-

Anonymous said...

What went through the mind of the Prichard Committee?

Robert Sexton had a Ph.D; now we have a second-rate intellect with a master's from Chattanooga running the state's most prestigous educational thinktank. Were these people ---smart people, I've been told--- unaware of the lawsuits against Silberman?

Anonymous said...

Dear Penny,

Not everyone is hailing Stu Silberman.

He mistreated people in Fayette County Public Schools. Three lawsuits are proof of the sour taste in the mouths of some faculty and principals.

Stu clearly left his position because of the impending lawsuits. (Remember, he was going to save us money after he rid us of Brenda Allen) Stu was too remote to see that Michael Ernst, his hand-selected middle school director, made fun of overweight faculty members and loners and threatened faculty members who expressed their own opinions.

But, I do believe that since the Herald-Leader does not print much about these things, most of the public will not know unless they check the Fayette County court docket. And most will think, as you do, that everyone is hailing this appointment.

Richard Day said...


Good point. Sexton had built an effective and fiercely loyal staff of believers and Heine was surely its most dedicated member. I can't imagine how many hundreds of hours Cindy spent sitting through meetings where legislators and other participants had to be continuously reminded of the most basic principles of what constitutes a sound educational system. The fatigue of that sustained effort must have been exhausting at times. Cindy told me recently she was anxious to hand over the reigns to whoever the new leader would be.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Stu's prospects. I'm rolling all that around in my mind these days.

I can understand the commenters who have already written him off due to their feelings about how he handled personnel in FCPS, but that will all get worked out in court eventually, and will soon take a new shape within the district.

And I understand the commenters who wonder about Stu's policy chops. So do I. Above all else, perhaps, Sexton had a moral compass that allowed him to face down governors, legislators and education officials when necessary. Surely, finding that vision and articulating it effectively will become Stu's biggest challenge.

As for Stu's departure from FCPS: he chose to waive the last three years of his stated commitment to Fayette County, but I guess I see that as his business. I don't know if he saw choppy waters ahead or was simply worn out with the demands of a large district - or something else. But he shouldn't stay someplace he didn't really want to be. The fact of his early departure did not seem to bother the Prichard folks or deter them from accepting a similar time commitment from him.


Anonymous said...

The person to replace Bob Sexton would have been an intellectual. An effective communicator. A sharp writer. A person with, as you say, a moral compass. A person who has something original to say about education.

Mr. Silberman is none of those things.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts, expressed anonymously, not due to cowardice, but rather due to the fact that Stu is my boss, can be expressed as follows:

Prichard Committee: First-rate organization with the respect of those who make a difference.

Stu= Second-rate thinker who speaks in clichees. Because I could not imagine Stu on the staff of a university, I could not imagine him heading Kentucky's leading educational thinktank.

We'll see.