Thursday, July 15, 2010

Does Greece's BOE Use Facts In Decision-Making?

D&C Editorial raises some interesting issues and employs some telling word choices

School boards should groom potential superintendents

The difficulties of the Greece school district in hiring a new superintendent should sound off alarm bells for other school district.

Yes, Greece as a large district poses special challenges — 12,500 students and frequent turnover of superintendents and board members. The Greece job attracted just 11 applicants; the board rejected two finalists and plans to begin a new search.

Considering that almost 46 percent of all superintendents in New York state plan to retire by 2013, even school boards in smaller, more stable districts should proactively prepare for the inevitable.

Boards face several challenges. A 2009 survey shows the candidate pool is growing smaller, and candidates are getting older and planning shorter tenures.

One solution is for school boards and current superintendents to focus more on succession planning and grooming administrators and principals for top jobs. That's not done frequently enough according to the survey conducted by the New York State Council of School Superintendents.

School leaders also should do a much better job of preparing women and minorities. Although women have made great strides in recent years, they still account for only 30 percent of all superintendents in New York.

The statistic for people of color is much worse; the survey found that less than 3 percent of respondents were people of color. That's terrible, given the diverse makeup of many student bodies.

Recognizing the need to groom future talent, the superintendents council offers training for potential superintendents and current ones; district leaders should pay for staff to participate.

Finally, school boards should do some soul-searching on their effectiveness. Superintendent candidates will be more attracted to a school district where the board works cooperatively and bases decisions on facts.

SCATS~~ With all of the myriad of troubles facing our school board, I think the expectation that these unpaid volunteers will spend their time and invest our dwindling monetary resources on "grooming" future superintendents is unrealistic. However, I do agree that the Greece school board would be very wise to note the suggestion made in the final sentence about basing their decisions on facts. Example: Tuesday night's meeting included two mistatements (one by a BOE member) about Greece enrollment declines totalling only "one or two hundred" students! Corrections to such fallacies should be made swiftly.



george hubbard said...

1. The efficacy of succession planning for any organization (public or private) is dependent upon having common purpose from year-to-year.

2. Common purpose comes from the organization knowing, A) Where it has been (past)... B) Where it is now (present)... and, C) Where it expects to be (future); this by measuring progress against agreed upon objectives.

3. One very important step in this on-going “ABC” process is to work from established measurable GOALS and tracking results.

4. As a means of governing the Greece school district, BOE should adopt measurable, multi-year performance GOALS e.g. educational results and spending control - these among other important parameters.

5. Established District GOALS would help in attracting a new superintendent now... and later developing succession plans if BOE wishes to do so.

6. Comments invited.

Anonymous said...

George knows the proper processes to facilitate success. But he lives on another planet when it comes to understanding the real world of the people that "rule" our district. As a school board member his great failing was that he never saw beyond the data, never understood the people and the motivations and never created any momentum for improvement. So posting up a nifty set of 5 principles is sure pretty but with the gang of political thugs, do-gooders, special interest lobbyists and neutered types that populates our board, this list just continues the "feel good" vibes for dear George. To paraphrase....the problem isn't the data or goals, its the people, stupid!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the administration take an idea from the high schools and have the top run by a committee. Not just one superintendent but a panel of superintendents that share the leadership and switch roles depending on the circumstance. They could take turns sitting in with the school board. They could job share the whole office. Then when one of them moved on the others could continue and the board could try to fill the vacant seat. Each could play superintendent on a rotating basis. It isn't allowed for in the NY state law but the mayor is challenging that. We have to get away from the CEO mindset because we just don't pay them enough for that. But part of a team they might understand.

SCATS said...

To 8:40PM ~~ That might work fine until one of them followed and applied policy. How would the hockey moms know which one to threaten? Would the BOE fire them all if they didn't get their own way?

Anonymous said...

Why can't we/they look outside the education community for a change?

Leadership is what is needed!
Education expertise abounds and that is a perfect roll for one of the assistance sueprintendents.

Anonymous said...

I agree with George- continuity comes from an agreed-upon set of goals that drives the direction of the district.
As for a committee because we do not pay enough for one CEO, I submit that the salary we pay is plenty to attract candidates. The lack of interest is due to other factors: lack of direction, a public that is distrustful of the BOE and "turned off" and an adversarial relationship between the unions and the administration.
Perhaps we need someone with successful public administration as a super, rather than someone who comes from another district after being re-conditioned, re-purposed and re-packaged by a talent agency.

george hubbard said...

To: 6:59 AM – thanks for posting.

1. You ask, “Why can’t we/they look outside the education community for a change?”

2. I believe there are two answers: a) In theory you can, b) In practice, you won’t - not if you are searching for certified candidates. Here's why.

3. “30th Edition, SCHOOL LAW” states (pg 153):

3a. “For certification requirements, the commissioner’s regulations set out three classes of certificates for school administrators.”

3b. School District Administrator (SDA): The SDA class includes district superintendents, superintendents of schools... etc.

3c. The certificate requirements are a baccalaureate and a master’s degree, including at least 60 semester hours of graduate study.

3d. Of the 60 hours, 24 must be in school administration and supervision.

3e. An approved administrative/supervisory internship must also be completed...

3f. Three years of teaching and/or administrative supervision... are also required.

3g. There are other miscellaneous requirements for certification.

4. So 6:59, does this help to answer your question?

Comments invited.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, George.
It makes some sense to require educational background, if we assume that district goals (for the districts that actually have measurable, defined goals) usually relate to education (grad rates, drop out rates, performance on standardized tests, etc). In our district, there are so many things that need work, such as community participation in voting, increased parental participation in the education of their children, how the board seeks and respects resident input, getting the teachers union and the administration to work together, etc. Experiences with teaching, administration and supervision don't seem to provide the background that is needed to deal with the underlying issues.

Anonymous said...

What professional in the business world or education would want to be superintendent of Greece schools where you have board members who love the power to fire and hirer and who themselves wish to run the everyday happenings in the schools.
I would run far away from this "opportunity".