Thursday, April 03, 2008

Norris Meets His Waterloo & Brooks Gets More Super Everyday

I don't know if this was mentioned anywhere here in ABQ, but APS superintendent candidate Dr. Gary Norris just got hired up in Waterloo, Iowa. Norris won't be making as much as new APS boss Winston Brooks (Waterloo is paying him $195,000 a year), but he might be getting the better end of the deal overall. Waterloo is a smaller district than APS at 10,500 kids, and has only four middle schools and two high schools.

Here is a nifty snapshot report on one of those schools, Bunger Middle School. This snapshot and the whole vibe of the Waterloo Schools website is one reason to think maybe they have their act together a bit more up there. Of course looks can be deceiving, but the godawful APS website certainly gives the correct impression of just how screwed up things are here.

New APS super Brooks has directed the hiring of two new associate superintendents (at $115,000 per a year) to help with resurrecting things here, especially in middle schools. The creation of such positions as a "associate superintendent for middle schools" is always widely criticized, especially in a district already as top-heavy as APS. I'll withhold judgment on these hires, but sure would like to know exactly what our many "associate superintendents" do. Maybe it would help if the new "associate superintendent for middle schools" could put together some nifty school snapshots like those in Waterloo, unlike the poorly designed school "report cards" the APS website has now.

Of course one might hope a person getting $115,000 a year could do more than create a decent .pdf . Maybe they could teach a class or two. Or maybe they could help fix the heating/cooling system at my school, Jefferson Middle. Yesterday the 7th grade hall averaged about 92 degrees. Let's put some HVAC experience in the new associate superintendent job description alongside proficiency in Adobe Acrobat. Just an idea.

P.S.: He's in Waterloo now, but over the last few weeks I've gotten some interesting about Dr. Gary Norris. I know being a superintendent is one of those human lightning rod jobs, but the vitriol and condemnation of the guy in these comments/email are fairly intense. One thinks some folks up in Iowa are getting a similar ear and email inbox full of such commentary these days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I went to the board meeting last night. Left my stifling hot portable classroom, the swamp coolers are not as yet turned on, and wandered into the Taj Mahal. Not only were the bathrooms clean, the refigerated air was downright heavenly.
Got me to thinking how much more kids could learn and I could teach if only we had heating and air conditioning THAT WORKED!
Ever notice the brand new buildings in APS that tax payers have thrown millions of dollars at? Roofs that leak and you got it... totally messed up heating and air! Brand new! I'd like it if just once, APS held a contracter accountable.
The board meeting by the way was interesting. How they voted. I think you might be right about Mr. Esquival, being a politician and using this as a spring "board". He looked very disappointed when he lost his presidential bid. Maybe now he'll fight for that accountablity audit of the top heavy administration. Maybe he was just trying to make nice to get the votes. All I know is I was surprised and saddened by his support of Sink. Oh well, if you're right and this is just a political stepping stone, I might just retire.