Thursday, June 09, 2011

Meanwhile in Jefferson County...

This from the Courier-Journal:

JCPS superintendent finalists must show where they stand on key issues

C-J did a nice job on this comparison of JCPS
with the finalists home districts.  Go see.
When Jefferson County's school board began looking for a new superintendent earlier this year, parents, politicians and community leaders said they wanted a leader who could turn around low-performing schools, raise student achievement and tackle ongoing complaints about student assignment and busing.

And now that the two finalists for the district's top job are known, those same people and others say they are eager to see where both candidates stand on those critical issues...

  This from C-J:

Profile: Christine Johns | 'Visible' administrator worked up career ladder

JCPS Superintendent Candidate Christine Johns-Haines speaks at forum: Superintendent candidate Christine Johns-Haines answers questions during a public forum on Monday, June 6, 2011.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — When Christine Johns arrived as superintendent of Utica Community Schools in July 2006, her mission was to make the well-regarded, high-performing school district in a working-class suburb of Detroit even better.

It was the first superintendent job for Johns, who had started her career as an elementary school teacher in Prince George's County, Md., then worked her way up the career ladder as a curriculum specialist, principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent in school districts in Maryland and California.

“We were a good district, but I think you could say that we were comfortable with where we were,” said Bob McBroom, the building administrator at Utica's Instructional Resource Center. “When she came in, she told us right off the bat that good wasn't good enough, and that we needed to do better.”

With 30,000 students, Utica is the second-largest district in Michigan. Ninety percent of its students are white, and less than one-quarter are eligible for subsidized lunches because they come from low-income families.

It's a marked difference from Jefferson County Public Schools, where slightly more than half the roughly 99,800 students are white and 62 percent are eligible for subsidized lunches.

But Jefferson County's diversity and size are what make it attractive, Johns said, adding that she's up to the task....

And this from C-J:

JCPS finalist Donna Hargens touts experience in big district

JCPS Superintendent Candidate Donna Hargens speaks...: Superintendent candidate Donna Hargens answers questions during a public forum on Thursday, June 8, 2011.
The second finalist for Jefferson County school superintendent said during a public forum Wednesday night that her experience in the large North Carolina district she now serves would make her a good fit for the Louisville job.

Donna Hargens, 53, is the chief academic officer for the Wake County Public Schools, a district with 143,000 students in Raleigh, N.C.

The other finalist, Christine Johns, superintendent of the Utica (Mich.) Community Schools, met with the public Monday night.

Hargens served as interim superintendent in the Wake County district — North Carolina’s largest — for 10 months. And she told a crowd of more than 100 at the Durrett Auditorium on the Louisville Male High School campus that it provides an ideal background for the Louisville job.

“I believe leading a large school district is my assignment,” she said. “It’s what all my experience has led me to do.”

Hargens described herself as “data-driven” and said reviewing data would help her raise student achievement and improve failing schools.

In Wake County, she said, data collection showed a pattern at struggling schools, where teachers lacked useful tools such as interactive projectors. It also showed the value of alternative programs, now being expanded, in helping poor-performing students.

“Everybody might need something different, and people might need a second chance,” she said...

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