Thursday, March 06, 2008

Other Voices, Other Padded Rooms: "News" of Other Superintendent Candidates

Humble Blogger's Note: I have no idea whatsoever of the veracity of the "facts" contained in the following quoted rant. Rational Discretion Advised...

I've noticed in recent days (from looking at the little "sitemeter" hit counter that all bloggers are obsessed about, but won't admit it) that ever since I started posting about the finalists for the APS Superintendent's job, I've been getting almost as many hits from Sarasota, Florida as I have Albuquerque. One of the candidates, Dr. Gary Norris, is currently Superintendent there. I wrote a little something specifically about Dr. Norris a couple of days ago, but it hasn't mattered..anything having to do with the APS job has led to numerous visits/views from Sarasota.

Then this morning I wake up and see the following comment to a post of last weekend. I post it for two reasons: 1. if your sense of humor runs to this sort of thing, it's pretty darn funny, and even possibly informative; 2. having the following signed "anonymous" demonstrates how much more powerful the tirade would be if it had an actual real name attached to it.

So, primarily for entertainment purposes only, here's the comment in toto:
Concerning Dr. Norris of Florida: He says he's looking for a school district with cultural diversity. Someone should ask him, "If this is true, why, after firing the principal of Booker High School (a predominantly African-American school in Sarasota), did you hide out in your office like a little girl, refusing to talk to the students and faculty?" Also, School Board members may want to ask about the lies and deception centered around the Sarasota school referendum vote of 2006. Why did the faculty and staff of the Sarasota schools send over 800 emails to the School Board requesting that Dr. Norris be fired? Two of the three School Board members who voted to retain him had been on the board for only two weeks. Two former board members stated that, if they had still been on the board, they would have voted to fire him. Dr. Norris's communication skills were deemed so poor that the School Board had to hire a Communications Director to do the job that he was unable to do. Someone should ask the principals and teachers at the Sarasota schools if he has ever visited their schools. Most would say he has never been to their schools. On a lighter note, someone might ask him about the speeding ticket he received for driving 20+ mph over the limit in a school zone.
Again, I have no idea about the "truthiness" of the above allegations. If I had more time this morning before work I'd love to check some of the juicier details out. Perhaps a reader can do that for me.

P.S.: The above rant also confirms, in my mind, how difficult a superintendent's job must be. A few days back I made the comparison between running a school district and being a college basketball coach. The similarities are there: high pay, high pressure to succeed, lots of job mobility, tendency to look like used car salesmen and/or preachers.

But there's a big, big difference. College basketball coaches oversee a small group of young men/women and only have to get them to win basketball games (and graduate from school, if you're into that sort of thing). It's fairly simple: basketball team goes 20-7 and gets into the NCAA tournament = great coach; team goes 7-20 = time to get a new coach.

Being a superintendent means overseeing "success" of thousands and thousands of students. But what makes it even harder is that there's no agreed criteria for "success". There's no single scoreboard. Some/many are trying to make standardized testing just such a "scoreboard", but it's far too complicated for that.

In other words, I think the whole idea of "superintendent" as currently constituted is flawed and needs to be scrapped/overhauled. I'd like to see/hear some new thinking on the subject and I'd like to hear it in the next 72 hours before we fly through the tail-end of this hiring process and end up just repeating the ultra-short life cycle of the "mayfly" superintendent just because we've always done it this way.

And no, my feelings on the difficulty of the superintendent's job doesn't mean I take back my comments about Linda Sink yesterday. In my own little version of "scoreboard" she lost the game v. the Journal, and helped make all of us losers in that little situation.


Anonymous said...

Regarding "anonymous" postings. I was surfing through our local blogs the other day and noticed postings by a friend of mine. Only problem was, my friend was being "spoofed" and the postings cast my friend in a very unfavorable light. So what good is signing "your" name if it's not?

Back to the subject at hand, the comments about Gary Norris and having a communications director sound all too familiar. I was ready to give Linda Sink big points if she fired Mouthpiece Monica. That would have been a clear sign that she was prepared to lead with personal responsibility. Maybe she's working on that fourth draft of the announcement.

The Board, for their part, has apparently decided to let the Journal educate the public on the six finalists. The only information I have seen put up on the APS site is the names and current employer. Since the first group (students) kicks off at 6:30 tomorrow morning, they will likely not see the last two profiles.

Anonymous said...

I found some blogs warning us, here in NM. Reminds me of blogs written recently about our past Sup.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Regarding "anonymous" postings. I was surfing through our local blogs the other day and noticed postings by a friend of mine. Only problem was, my friend was being "spoofed" and the postings cast my friend in a very unfavorable light. So what good is signing "your" name if it's not?

I'm not sure if I read your post correctly - Am I reading that you don't approve of the posts your friend writes in response to a blog? And then you ask why they use a fictitious name?

Hmm, makes sense to me. Your "friend" hides behind the name or anonymous to avoid being judged by any other "friends" who may be reading. People are tired of being politically correct.