Superintendents in the News

This section is devoted to newspaper and television news stories that feature your colleagues in action.

If you have any questions, contact Gayane Minasyan at 703-875-0757 or email at gminasyan@aasa.org.

Superintendents Raise Alarm Over ‘Attacks' on Education
Observer & Eccentric, Dec. 2
SOUTH OAKLAND, Mich. — Bills introduced in the Michigan legislature would give this state’s Educational Achievement Authority ability to operate as a statewide school district, picking its students and exempt from oversight by the state superintendent or board of education. Opposition has taken on a war room atmosphere. ‘Community-governed schools have been and are the backbone of communities. And this is an attack on the whole notion of local control and communities,’ charged Royal Oak Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin in a meeting of superintendents and lawmakers spearheaded by Oakland Superintendent Vickie Markavitch. Backers of the bills say change is needed because Michigan education is failing, but opponents challenge that. ‘If there is ever a time where we were going to stand up for public education it is now,’ said Southfield Superintendent Wanda Cook-Robinson. hometownlife.com

Superintendents Say Many School Districts Will Be Insolvent in 4 Years
Buffalo News, Dec. 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Painting a bleak picture for New York’s public schools, half of the state’s district superintendents say their areas will run out of money in four years. Seven in 10 believe they will not be able to fund required programs within the same period, according to a new survey. ‘We’re all in trouble,’ said local Kenmore-Town Superintendent Mark Mondanaro. ‘We’ve been cutting bone.’ Sloan Superintendent James Mazgajewski: ‘The only thing that surprised me is that districts thought they could last four years. ‘Where that money is coming from, I don’t know. I know the situation we’re in.’ West Seneca faces drastic cuts or a fat tax increase to fill a projected $7 million shortfall. East Aurora sees a budget gap of almost $950,000. Cleveland Hill cries ‘hemorrhage’ of its financial reserves. Niagara Falls predicts its worst budget in history due to increased pension contributions. buffalonews.com

Putnam Schools Superintendent Favors More Local Control
The Charleston Gazette, Nov. 26
WINFIELD, W.Va. — Putnam County School Superintendent Chuck Hatfield says he believes the state education department will give more local control to districts based on its response to an efficiency audit. ‘Who best knows what students in Putnam County need than us?’ he said. The audit, conducted by Pennsylvania firm for $750,000 about a year ago, projects up to $90 million in annual savings if all its recommendations are applied. One is to strengthen school leadership by giving principals more control over staff and budgets. Counties should also be allowed more control and flexibility, said Hatfield. ‘It's difficult to develop policy or laws to govern education in all 55 counties when they're all so different,’ he stressed. ‘Looking at the response by the state board, I think there will be change.’ wvgazette.com

Salem County Superintendent Defers Portion of His Salary to Aid Struggling School District's Bottom Line
South Jersey Times, Dec. 2
MANNINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Sharing the financial burden, school superintendent Loren Thomas is deferring half of his salary until June to help his district overcome money woes. ‘I’m recommending laying off people. It’s only fair that I share in some of the sacrifice,’ said the superintendent for the Salem County Vocational Technical School District and Salem County Special Services School District. ‘I have been entrusted to lead the district, and I believe that leaders lead by example.’ Thomas asked the combined board of education for the districts to withhold that portion of his salary contributed by the special services district until June. The board approved holding back half of Thomas’ pay, or about $41,500. New Jersey School Boards Association spokesman Mike Yaple said a number of superintendents have taken wage freezes and made other such concessions as budgets tighten. nj.com

Millburn Schools Superintendent Gave Support During Storm
The Item, Nov. 9
MILLBURN, N.J. —The power of good communications. A resident of this town, hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, says in a letter to the editor of The Millburn/Short Hills Item: ‘I want to express my admiration and thanks to Dr. James Crisfield, Superintendent of Schools, who has sent out a stream of uplifting, we're-all-in-this-together emails full of news, not only about the schools but about voting.’ Throughout the crisis, adds Suzannah Hopkins Leisher, ‘we have heard not a peep from the Millburn mayor, and news from the town has been sporadic, uneven, and insufficient.’ The writer praises the work of the town’s government to get services back, ‘but real leadership in times of crisis also requires that a leader step up and … also rally the troops.’ northjersey.com

Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Launches Podcast With Teachers’ Union Vice President
Washington Post, Nov. 8
ROCKVILLE, Md. — The superintendent and the teachers’ union are using the digital airwaves together to address problems facing public education. Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr has launched a podcast called ‘What’s the BIG Idea?’ a show he hosts with Vice President Chris Lloyd of the Montgomery County Education Association and an eighth-grade teacher. ‘Public education is really, really complex,’ Starr said in the inaugural podcast. ‘There are no easy answers, and I feel like part of my job is to try to help people understand that complexity in a multitude of ways.’ The show will include people from around the area who have big ideas about things going on in education. The union represents more than 12,000 teachers, counselors and other educators. washingtonpost.com

DISD Superintendent Miles 'Staying Focused' in the Face of Critics
WFAA-TV, Nov. 9
Dallas, Tex. — When Superintendent Mike Miles took over Dallas schools last summer, he promised a new level of accountability — expectations for students, teachers and principals would be high. Just four months into the job, comes a test of resolve. Miles says he will not back away after being openly called out by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who accused the superintendent of ‘terrorizing’ the district. Upset that Miles apparently forced the resignation of Price's ally, long-time and controversial administrator Shirley Ison-Newsome, Price blasted Miles for pushing his reforms too hard. But Miles didn’t blink. ‘I'm going to get criticized from many quarters and that's part of the job,’ he said. ‘But my job is to stay focused on what we have to do on the teachers and on the students.’ wfaa.com

School Superintendent Contracts FOI Test Case for Open Records
Shoreline Times, Nov. 10
Guilford, Conn. — Public school districts throughout Connecticut are responding positively to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the Shoreline Times and other newspapers for copies of their superintendents’ pay contracts. A total of 119 of the state’s 149 districts provided contracts within four days of the recent FOI request. The New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen, sister publications of Shoreline Times, are gathering all school chief contracts for the state in order to build a searchable database. Connecticut’s FOI Act requires a response within four days, but this can be just a confirmation of receiving the request and an estimated time frame for when the documents will be provided. shorelinetimes.com

Carroll F. Johnson, Schools Integrator, Dies at 99
New York Times, Oct. 6
NEW YORK — Southern-born educator Carroll F. Johnson, one of the first superintendents to voluntarily use busing to integrate an urban school district — in White Plains, N.Y., in the 1960s, died this month in Sarasota, Fla. He was 99. Johnson’s commitment to education for minorities was born in the Jim Crow South of 1941 when he got a master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia. He went to Westchester County, N.Y., in 1954 to run White Plains schools. ‘He was a Southerner and kept his drawl, and I don’t think people saw him coming,’ said Johnson’s son. The Supreme Court had just ended legal school segregation and Johnson made changes, including the White Plains Racial Balance Plan, which called for busing hundreds of children so that no school had less than 10 percent minority enrollment or more than 30 percent. The key to the program’s success was that the busing went essentially one way: black children being transferred to white schools. nytimes.com

Kountze Superintendent Explains Why He Banned Signs When He Didn't Want To
Beaumont Enterprise, Oct. 6
KOUNTZE, Tex. — Texas District Judge Steven Thomas has continued a temporary order allowing cheerleaders in the Kountze Independent School District to wave religious banners at football games. Schools Superintendent Kevin Weldon had ordered the displays to stop. The ruling came after a hearing in which Weldon testified that he ordered the ban on such signs despite the fact that he did not want to. The superintendent said that he got bad legal advice and that his decision both violated school policy on freedom of speech and discriminated against the cheerleaders. The case is being watched closely by other districts in Texas, which have similar open rules regarding student speech. beaumontenterprise.com

School Superintendents' Employment Contracts Reveal Area Trends for Pay, Perks
The Patriot-News, Oct. 4
J HARRISBURG, Pa. — Is the job of public school superintendent losing luster? Superintendents have increasingly less say in how they run their districts and at the same time confront higher standards than at any time in history. Educational leadership professor Jerry Fowler at Shippensburg State University says the job is in metamorphosis. Though they head organizations with hundreds of employees and thousands of ‘clients,’ superintendents’ salaries fall short of wages paid to CEOs with similar responsibilities in the private sector, said Fowler. ‘Today’s superintendents have to know more about the finances of a district, more about instruction because of assessment and accountability. Superintendents today have to be very sophisticated in their skill set.’ He added that the extra pressure at often lower pay has probably accelerated early retirements. Details, including salaries, at pennlive.com

Former El Paso Schools Superintendent Gets 3.5-year Prison Term in Test Cheating Scandal
Associated Press, Oct. 5
EL PASO, Tex. — Former El Paso schools Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia has been sentenced to more than three years in prison by a federal judge for conspiring to improve high-stakes tests scores by removing low-performing students from classrooms. The scheme to prevent hundreds of sophomores from taking accountability tests fooled authorities into believing academic standards had improved in the district — resulting in a boost in federal funds and personal bonuses of over $56,000. Garcia pleaded guilty to two fraud counts, one in the test scandal and another of misleading the school board. Judge David Briones sentenced him to 3-1/2 years on each fraud count, to be served concurrently. Garcia also was ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution and fined $56,500 — the bonus amount he got. ‘As superintendent,’ he said, ‘I am responsible for everything that went on in my district.’ washingtonpost.com

Charter School Superintendent Steps Down after Joke About First Lady Ignites National Media Firestorm
San Bernardino Sun, Sept. 25
VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Michael Hayhurst, whose ill-chosen words about Michelle Obama raised a firestorm, is no longer a school superintendent. Hayhurst resigned as leader of a group of High Desert charter schools after a joke he made about the First Lady brought national condemnation. ‘The board has accepted Mike's resignation effective Oct. 1,’ said Bill Flynn, Excelsior Charter School's assistant superintendent of human resources and now acting superintendent. Hayhurst drew attention this month while performing as a rodeo clown near San Luis Obispo. ‘Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine,’ he joked over loudspeakers, ‘and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them.’ Hayhurst apologized, stressing that with free speech ‘comes responsibility.’ sbsun.com

Tata Out as Wake Schools Chief after Heated Board Vote
WRAL-TV, Sept. 25
CARY, N.C. — In a party line vote, the Wake County Board of Education has voted to fire the school district's superintendent, paying him approximately $250,000 in severance pay. Four Republican board members who voted to hire Tony Tata nearly two years ago said they were disgusted by the Democratic majority’s move and blamed politics and board members carrying a grudge for the dismissal. ‘I am proud of all that we have accomplished as a school system in the last 20 months,’ Tata said after the board finalized his termination. Democratic members defended the decision, saying it had nothing to do with politics. Emails circulated from community members, including former school board candidates, calling the vote ‘thuggish.’ Warned one email sent to board members and media outlets: ‘If you vote to fire Superintendent Tata, you will have permanently burned all bridges of cooperation with many Wake County families.’ wral.com

Duval School Board Votes for Nikolai Vitti To Be Next Superintendent
Florida Times-Union, Sept. 26
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County School Board has voted to hire Nikolai Vitti, 35, as superintendent of schools following an eight-month search to replace Ed Pratt-Dannals. Vitti, who spent two years supervising Miami-Dade’s lowest-performing schools before being promoted to Miami’s chief academic officer in July, accepted Duval’s offer to negotiate. ‘I’m excited. We are on the cusp of being a model district for public education and I believe that I’m the right fit,’ he said. When negotiations are complete, Vitti would become the youngest superintendent among Florida’s largest six counties. jacksonville.com

Keith Reed Jr., Clymer Central School District School Superintendent, Found Shot Dead At New York Home
Associated Press, Sept. 24e
CLYMER, N.Y. -— Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed Jr., on the job less than a year, has been fatally shot at his home in this small town in what authorities say is an apparent homicide. Chautauqua County sheriff's office personnel found the body of Reed, who was well liked in the community, on Sept. 24, after receiving a missing-person report. Reed's body was outside and the 51-year-old apparently was shot more than once. Reed had been superintendent of the single-building district and its 468 students since November. He lived alone and had last been seen on Sept. 21. Town Supervisor Daniel Caflisch said the agricultural town’s 1,500 residents are ‘stunned.’ huffingtonpost.com

Superintendent Richard Carranza On The Classroom, Why Money Matters And Finding Inspiration In SF
Huffington Post, Sept. 13
SAN FRANCISCO — Richard Carranza entered public school in Arizona speaking no English. That didn’t even slow him down and, four years ago, he became superintendent of this city’s Unified School District. The Huffington Post did an in-depth interview with Carranza recently, and the blog notes that schools here saw a rise in standardized test scores across almost every subject this year. The city's most underperforming institutions have all shown signs of improvement. The son of a sheet metal worker and a hairdresser, Carranza marvels at being responsible for 55,000-plus students in a major city like this. Contemplating his job, he looks out over the Golden Gate, a sight that ‘really conjures gratitude for the blessings I've had.’ Complete text at huffingtonpost.com

Wallingford School Leaders Break New Ground With Twitter
The Record-Journal, Sept. 13
WALLINGFORD, Conn. — Twitter has the ring of a birdcall, but it’s becoming far more important than that to the nation’s public school administrators. As social media grows in education communications, administrators are now using what was not so long ago a puzzle to them. ‘It’s a work in progress, but we’re excited,’ says Wallingford School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo. ‘We’re going to gradually keep moving forward.’ In the August issue of ‘School Administrator,’ the publication of the American Association of School Administrators, Litchfield (MN) Superintendent Daniel Frazier extolled Twitter for school leaders. ‘Beginning users are cautioned to take it slowly but be persistent,’ said Frazier. ‘It takes time to acquire an understanding of the power of the tool.’  myrecordjournal.com

New Superintendent Appointed in Albany
Fox 23, Sept. 13
ALBANY, N.Y. — A six-month nationwide search that drew 27 candidates has found a new superintendent for this capital’s schools. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, who comes here from a New Jersey district with 28,000 students, was named by the school board to take the reins from Interim Albany Superintendent Ray Colucciello. The board hopes the new leader, who simply goes by ‘Dr. V,’ will provide quick improvement. The state has cited Albany as a ‘focus district’ in need of major improvements. ‘My sole focus is student achievement,’ said Vanden Wyngaard, the first African-American woman to lead Albany schools. She brings a plan to boost the district’s current 53 percent graduation rate to 90 percent.  fox23news.com

LAUSD Superintendent: ‘If You Don't Like the Results, Fire Me’
NBC, Sept. 14
LOS ANGELES — School Superintendent John Deasy caustically notes that this city spent money to trim trees for the arrival of a retired space shuttle, but the unified school district’s schools can’t afford to cut their lawns ‘because we fired all the gardeners.’ He spoke with members of the community recently, predicting that teacher contract negotiations here are likely to go better than in Chicago because he is directly involved. Deasy pushed for Californians to pass a school funding initiative proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. And he pulled no punches on who is holding the reins of this sprawling district: ‘You can't have seven people running LAUSD, and you can't have seven people running different sections of LAUSD. ‘If you're not happy with the results, fire me.’ nbclosangeles.com

Syracuse School Superintendent May Receive a $10,000 Performance Bonus
The Post-Standard, Aug.2
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras, who makes $204,000 a year, could receive a $10,000 bonus for her first year in the job last year. The school board is about to complete its evaluation of her initial year, which ended in June. Members will decide if Contreras gets the performance bonus. Teachers — who make up most of the district’s employees — agreed to cut their negotiated pay raise from 4.5 percent to 2.25 percent for 2011-12. Under the superintendent’s three-year contract, she is eligible for a ‘performance award stipend’ of up to $10,000 her first year if she met four goals established by Contreras and the board. Swift said he personally thinks Contreras met or exceeded those goals: ‘We’re really breaking ground here as far as reforming schools.’ syracuse.com

Baltimore County's New Superintendent Introduces Blogging and Tweeting
Baltimore Sun, Aug. 2
BALTIMORE, Md. — The school year hasn’t even begun, but new Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance is happily tweeting, blogging and texting. His communications style is open for everyone in Dance’s first month on the job, tweeting about everything from U.S. Department of Education grants for Advanced Placement, to the teachers union and education articles he's found interesting. One tweet included a conversation with a teacher who wanted to show off what her school was doing. He also tweeted support for the teachers union: ‘Teacher unions are NOT the problem. (We) have a very collaborative relationship. We want what's best for all children.’ baltimoresun.com

Lockland Superintendent Put on Leave Over Attendance Flap
Associated Press, Aug. 2
LOCKLAND, Ohio — Lockland schools Superintendent Donna Hubbard has been put on paid leave amid questions about changes to school attendance numbers. State investigators are probing some Ohio districts and the state education department, saying changes have led to artificially inflated state testing results in some areas. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the Lockland School Board put Hubbard on leave. The board is probing allegations that 36 students who were often absent were coded during the 2010-2011 school year as having withdrawn from schools. Hubbard has worked for this Cincinnati area district for about 37 years. dispatch.com

Fort Smith Superintendent Takes Reins of National Education Group
Arkansas News, July 26
WASHINGTON — The Fort Smith (AR) school superintendent says his first order of business as president of the American Association of School Administrators will be to avert deep cuts in public education funding. Benny Gooden spoke to a meeting of the 14,000-member AASA after being sworn in as its leader for the coming year. As the head of a major group of public school executives around the country, the Clinton (AR) native will have a voice on national education policy, including efforts in Congress to update the No Child Left Behind law. Gooden will remain Fort Smith superintendent during this year as association head. ‘I have a day job and I am going to keep doing that day job,’ he said. arkansasnews.com

Meriden, Southington Superintendents Eager to Share Ideas from Conference in Washington
Record-Journal, July 24
MERIDEN, Conn. — Southington School Superintendent Joseph Erardi and Meriden School Superintendent Mark Benigni are working with superintendents across Connecticut after attending a national conference on education hosted by the American Association of School Administrators in Washington. The conference provided them with information about current legislation in Congress that would impact education and an opportunity to talk to legislators about the bills. ‘I think the importance for us as educators is to come together and to really share our thoughts on how we can support one another,’ Benigni said. Erardi added that the conference was a success, but the issue of potential federal budget ‘sequestration’ in January left him worried. myrecordjournal.com

Ohio Auditor: Attendance Probe to Expand Statewide
Associated Press, July 26
COLUMBUS, Ohio— Ohio's state auditor is expanding a probe into what may be systemic rule-breaking in changes made to student attendance data in local school districts, community schools and the state education department. In a letter to Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar, Auditor Dave Yost said possible infractions already under investigation in Columbus, Toledo and suburban Cincinnati suggest the problem may be broader. There's no evidence that anyone at the state education department is involved, wrote Yost, ‘but the apparently widespread nature of the practice begs the nature of the question of at least a lack of oversight.’ State Education Superintendent Stan Heffner has begun his own investigation and says the probe could lead to criminal charges against educators. sfgate.com

Albany Picks New Schools Chief, Conditionally
Albany Times-Union, July 25
ALBANY, N.Y. — The Albany School District has a picked New Jersey educator Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard to be its next superintendent, but she must first get a certification from the state Education Department because she is not certified to be a superintendent in New York. The board voted to request that the state issue Vanden Wyngaard a school district leader certificate. She is deputy superintendent of public schools in Paterson (NJ), a district with 28,000 students. Certification requests are unusual, according to the N.Y. Education Department, but the department has granted a number of waivers. Vanden Wyngaard is certified as a superintendent in New Jersey, Minnesota and Wisconsin. timesunion.com

New Superintendent Provides First Peek at Plans for District
Huntersville Herald, June 1
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison says he hopes to restore confidence in a school system that has been tainted by public mistrust as he prepares to take the helm on July 1. ‘This entry plan has two main purposes,’ Morrison said at a recent briefing in which he discussed his five-point plan. ‘It will give me a solid framework as I assume my new responsibilities and it will help CMS employees, families and the public understand what I am doing and why.’ Morrison, who earlier was named AASA’s Superintendent of the Year for 2012 in leading Reno, Nev., schools, said the CMS search process made clear to him that many people here feel that system leaders do not listen to them. ‘This process will allow me to listen carefully and closely,’ he stressed. huntersvilleherald.com

Oswego Names New School Superintendent
Chicago Sun-Times, June 1
OSWEGO, Ill. -- The Oswego School Board has hired Matthew Wendt to become superintendent of the ninth largest district in Illinois with more than 17,000 students. He currently is superintendent of the Ankeny Community School District in Polk County, Iowa, six miles from Des Moines. ‘I look forward to meeting and beginning to work with the administrative team, faculty, staff, community members and students in District 308,’ Wendt said in a release. On July 1, he will succeed Superintendent Dan O’Donnell, who announced his resignation in February, citing philosophical differences with the School Board. School officials said 60 candidates applied for the Oswego position. beaconnews.com

Missoula School Superintendent Says He's Open to Right Opportunity
The Missoulian, May 31
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle says he is happy in his current job, but that he would consider an offer for ‘a great position’ elsewhere. He lost out to another contender this month in vying to become superintendent of the Bellevue School District in Washington State. ‘I love my job here,’ Apostle said. ‘I love the people here and I’m satisfied. But to say that if someone recruited me for a great position, I couldn’t say I wouldn’t be interested in it. That happens to a lot of people. That’s the way the world works.’ “This is what happens when you have a world-class leader,” said Toni Rehbein, MCPS trustee chairwoman. “If we had a run-of-the mill superintendent it wouldn’t be issue because no one would be after him.” missoulian.com

New Superintendents To Lead Three DeWitt County School Districts
Victoria Advocate, May 31
CUERO, Tex. -- Jim Haley is the new superintendent of schools in Cuero, one of three new superintendents recently chosen in DeWitt County for the 2012-13 school year. He was officially hired this month during a board of trustees special session to replace Henry Lind. Haley has worked as a superintendent in the Damon and the Waelder school districts. The Meyersville School Board, meanwhile, has chosen Tina Herrington to replace retiring Superintendent Laura Whitson. Herrington is the secondary principal and district curriculum director in the Schulenburg School District. And the Nordheim School District Board of Trustees has named Kevin Wilson, principal of North Hopkins High School near Sulphur Springs, as the lone finalist for its open superintendent position. The board can officially offer Wilson the position on June 18. victoriaadvocate.com

CMSD Selects Superintendent
The Dispatch, May 26
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- After a year of waiting, the Columbus Municipal School District has a new superintendent. Board President Tommy Prude declined to immediately announce the winner from among the three finalists, but says it will not be Pamela Henson, director of instructional support for the Baldwin County Board of Education in Bay Minette, Ala. Henson withdrew her name from consideration due to a death in her family. Prude said the new superintendent -- probably either Superintendent Isaac Leon Haynes of the Jefferson Davis County School District or Interim Superintendent Martha Liddell of Columbus city schools -- will be announced soon. cdispatch.com

5 Semifinalists in Superintendent Search
Observer & Eccentric, May 27
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. -- The Birmingham Schools District says that five semifinalists have been chosen in the search for a new superintendent to replace David Larson, who is leaving for a job in the Chicago area at the end of the school year. The five are Groves High School Principal Fred Procter; Robert Shaner, executive director of instruction and technology for the Warren (Mich.) Consolidated School District ; Madison (Wisc.) Superintendent Daniel Nerad; Aspen (Colo.) School Superintendent John Maloy; and Richard Machesky, assistant superintendent of secondary instruction for Troy (Mich.) Schools. A first round of interviews -- to which the public is invited -- begins at the end of May. The Birmingham District serves more than 8,000 students. hometownlife.com

Crescent School District Selects New Superintendent
Peninsula Daily News, May 26
JOYCE, Wash. –- The new Crescent School District Superintendent is Clayton Mork, a graduate instructor at Western Washington University. Mork, 59, recently accepted the job offer to succeed Superintendent Tom Anderson, who announced in March that he is retiring after six years at the school helm here. 'I'm thrilled to have been offered the position,' said Mork, who will move to Joyce from Indianola. He holds a doctorate and begins work here on July 1. The terms of his contract will be worked out during the coming weeks. As is the growing case among a growing number of budget-conscious districts around the country, Mork will serve as both district superintendent and principal of the elementary, middle and high schools and also head the Home Connection program. peninsuladailynews.com

Cupertino Union Hires New Superintendent
Mercury News, May 24
CUPERTINO, Calif. -- The Cupertino Union School District has reached north across San Francisco Bay to hire Wendy Gudalewicz as its new superintendent. Gudalewicz , chief academic officer in the New Haven School District in Union City, will replace retiring Cupertino Superintendent Phil Quon on July 1 with a three-year contract at an annual base salary of $230,000. She will also get an annual $121,000 annuity and $7,000 car allowance from this 18,650-student district. 'I am excited, 'said Gudalewicz, who will quickly begin visiting Cupertino's 25 elementary and middle schools . She was chosen from a field of 29 applicants and six finalists. Gudalewicz 'absolutely rose to the top as a match in what we were looking for,' said Cupertino School Board President Phyllis Vogel. mercurynews.com

Bellevue Names Superintendent Finalists
Seattle Times, May 20
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The Bellevue School Board has announced three finalists from Oregon, Montana and Illinois for the superintendent's job. The position came open in January when current Superintendent Amalia Cudeiro announced she was resigning to be with her mother in California. The finalists are Superintendent Alex Apostle of Missoula County (Mont.) Public Schools, Superintendent Mark Mitrovich of the Naperville Community School District in suburban Chicago, and Superintendent Justin Wells of North Clackamas School District near Portland. With an enrollment of about 18,500, the Bellevue district just east of Seattle is the 13th-largest in Washington. Mitrovich and Mills both head districts with more than 17,000 students; Apostle's district has 8,400 students. blogs.seattletimes.com

Superintendent Interviews Set for Next Week
The Dispatch, May 18
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Three finalists for the job of superintendent of Columbus Municipal Schools are in the process of interviews to select a successor to former Superintendent Del Phillips. They are Superintendent Isaac Leon Haynes, of the Jefferson Davis County (Miss.) School District; Pamela Taylor Henson, director of instructional support for the Baldwin County Board of Education in Bay Minette, Ala.; and Interim Columbus Superintendent Martha Liddell, who has served in the job since Phillips' resignation. Members of a large committee of education officials and Columbus citizens will report back to the Municipal School Board following the public interview sessions. cdispatch.com

New Superintendent Named
Record-Bee, May 17
LOWER LAKE, Calif. -- Donna Becnel has been appointed superintendent of the Konocti Unified School District effective July 1, replacing retiring Superintendent Bill MacDougall. She currently serves as the assistant superintendent for human resources in the Hayward (Calif.) Unified School District. According to a press release issued by the Konocti Board of Trustees, Becnel's main area of expertise has been in human resources, but she also has experience in curriculum and instructional services. The KUSD conducted a nation-wide search for the superintendent and received more than 30 applications. Board President Anita Gordon said the board voted unanimously to hire Becnel from among three finalists. record-bee.com

New Timmonsville School Superintendent Named
WPDE-TV, May 18
TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. -- Andre Boyd, currently principal of Timmonsville High School, will take over as superintendent of Florence (S.C.) School District Four in Timmonsville in July. Boyd has been teaching in the district for 10 years and says he was 'incredibly excited' when picked for the job recently by school board leaders. He replaces Interim Superintendent Matrell Sturkey, appointed in December after former Superintendent Bertha McCants resigned. Boyd says the district has worked hard to stay out of bankruptcy. Last March, the board cut 19 positions to be able to make ends meet for the remainder of that school term. The district owed $500,000 to the state retirement system and $90,000 in state health and benefits, but has significantly reduced its debt with structured payments. carolinalive.com

3 Vying To Be Superintendent Firelands Schools
The Morning Journal, May 12
HENRETTIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio--Three final candidates have been chosen by the Firelands School Board in a search to replace School Superintendent Greg Ring. They are Robert Hill, principal of Olmsted Falls High School since 2008; Leigh Ann McCray, an assistant superintendent in the Carrollton Exempted Village School District, and Geoffrey Palmer, who is retiring as superintendent at Hopewell-Loudon Local School District in Bascom after 10 years in that position. ‘All three candidates bring a wealth of experience,’ said Ring, who is moving to Hopewell-Loudon to replace Palmer on Aug. 1. The board interviewed five candidates for the Firelands position. morningjournal.com

Superintendent Finalist Drops Out, 4 Remain
The News Courier, May 10
ATHENS, Ala.--One of the five finalists for Limestone County Schools superintendent has dropped out of the selection process after accepting a job elsewhere. Joe David Walters, superintendent for Tuscumbia County Schools since 2007, has taken a $10,000-a-month interim post as superintendent of Satsuma (Ala.) Schools. Four persons remain in the running to replace former Limestone Superintendent Barry Carroll, who retired in December, at salary ranging from $113,000 to $130,000 a year. They are Interim Limestone Superintendent Zebra Green, Assistant Professor Dwight John Pullen of Central Michigan University, Baldwin County Schools Human Resources Supervisor Thomas Michael Sisk, and Assistant Superintendent Leonard Westbrook of the Independence School District in Missouri. enewscourier.com

Pittsfield Superintendent Candidate Dropped; Search Restarts
Berkshire Eagle, May 11
PITTSFIELD, Mass.--The hunt for this city’s new school superintendent will be reopened after the school board rejected the candidacy of a Worcester area school superintendent, who was the lone finalist to succeed Superintendent Howard Eberwein III. The board unanimously agreed to seek an interim superintendent who would serve until another search can be conducted to hire a permanent successor to Eberwein, who announced his resignation earlier this year. The committee will ask the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to come up with up to three candidates to be considered as the temporary superintendent. The first search came to a halt when the school board voted 5-2 against offering the position to Reza Namin of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District. A majority of members questioned Namin’s commitment to Pittsfield Public Schools. berkshireeagle.com

Suzette Lovely Unanimously Voted CUSD Superintendent
Carlsbad Patch, May 10
CARLSBAD, Calif.--Suzette Lovely has been selected unanimously by the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees to be CUSD superintendent. She will replace Superintendent John A. Roach, who is retiring at the end of June after eight years in the job. Lovely is assistant superintendent for Personnel Services at Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. That district serves 25,000 students at 34 elementary, middle and high school sites. CUSD serves 11,000 students at nine elementary, three middle and currently one high school site. The new Sage Creek High School will open next year. ‘I call CUSD a ‘destination district’, because it’s a stellar place where people want to come, not leave,’ said Lovely, who will complete her Ed.D. from California State University Fullerton this summer. She has taught at the university level, written three books and presented at national and state conferences. carlsbadpatch.patch

NISD Picks New Superintendent From Within
Express-News, May 1
SAN ANTONIO, Texas--The Northside Independent School District has dipped within and named Brian Woods, the district's deputy superintendent for administration, to succeed John Folks as superintendent. NISD trustees voted unanimously for Woods, 43, who plans to take the helm on July 2. Folks has led the 4th largest district in Texas since 2002 and plans to retire June 30. Northside has more than 97,000 students and more than 12,000 employees, with 112 schools. The board hired Thompson & Horton LLP to conduct a national search, and members selected Woods, who has been with the district about 20 years, from among 25 applicants. ‘(Folks) has allowed me a lot of insight and a role in decision-making, so I don't foresee coming in and making substantive changes anytime soon,’ Woods said. ‘We'll continue to build on the great progress we've made under his leadership.’ mysanantonio.com

District Names Two Finalists for Superintendent Job
Woodbury Patch, May 6
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn.--Two finalists, one from the District of Columbia and the other from Minnesota, have been named finalists to succeed School District 833 Superintendent Mark Porter. They are Lolli Haws, currently instructional superintendent for D.C. Public Schools, and Keith Jacobus, Assistant Superintendent of Leadership, Teaching and Learning for the Osseo Area (Minn.) School District. Haws also has experience as an elementary school principal in Virginia and Missouri. ‘We need to teach for our child’s future, not for our past,’ she said in a statement released by District 833. ‘We are still way too stuck in teaching the way we were taught and still holding school the way we went to school when we were kids.’ Jacobus said in a statement: ‘I’ve heard wonderful things about the culture of this district being student-centered and people-centered.’ woodbury.patch.com

Search of New Pennsville Superintendent of Schools Narrowed Down to Three Candidates
NJ.com, May 7, 2012
PENNSVILLE TOWNSHIP, N.J.--The Pennsville Board of Education has narrowed to three people its search for a candidate to replace veteran Superintendent of Schools Mark Jones. Those in the running are Lori Moore, who currently works in the district; Michael Brodzik from Pittsgrove and Kevin J. Carroll from Clinton. Jones announced in February that he would retire after 29 years serving the Pennsville District. The three candidates were scheduled to meet with parents and community members at separate receptions. ‘Though the school board is ultimately the hiring agent, we are interested in knowing the thoughts of both our staff and community,’ said School Board President Kathy Bodine. ‘The board wants to be transparent, as much as we can be through this process.’ At each introduction, the candidates were scheduled to give a short presentation about themselves and answer questions from the community. nj.com

School Board's Superintendent Choice Cloaked in Secrecy
Greenwich Time, May 7, 2012
GREENWICH, Conn.--The Board of Education has announced that William McKersie will be this city’s new school superintendent. But questions have been raised over why the board didn’t conduct a more open search for the new leader. ‘And that may prove to be a disservice, not just to townspeople, but to the school board and to McKersie,’ according to an article posted on line by the Greenwich Time newspaper. On paper, the article says, McKersie, 52, has a lot to recommend him. He has degrees from Tufts and Harvard and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. McKersie is currently associate superintendent for academic excellence for the Archdiocese of Boston. Some are concerned that he has spent little time in the classroom as a teacher, and that his resume is thin in operational or managerial experience. Others would like to know his views about religion in school, given a background in the Catholic Church and its schools. greenwichtime.com

Paterson Superintendent Faces Parents Over Plan To Replace ‘Social Promotion’ With New Summer School Program
Bergen Record, April 23
PATERSON, N.J. -- Paterson Schools Superintendent Donnie Evans, facing angry parents, defended the district’s recent announcement that it will no longer use ‘social promotion’ to advance underperforming students to the next grade. ‘It’s why Paterson has the reputation it has as a low-performing school’ system, he said of a long-standing policy of ignoring its own rulebook by allowing students to progress regardless of whether they demonstrate proficiency in reading and math. He told parents at Eastside High School that the practice was fundamental to Paterson’s ills. Parents are in an uproar over the timing of a letter just before the end of the school year warning that some children may need to attend a new summer school program to have another shot at promotion. Kesha Hopkins, mother of a fourth-grader, said she supports the new policy in principle, but would have arranged for a tutor had she known earlier that her son was in danger of being left behind. ‘Two months left – that’s a lot of pressure on a 10-year-old,’ she said. northjersey.com

Rochester's Faith Community: ‘Superintendent Process Was Rigged’
WHEC-TV, April 25
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Members of the Rochester clergy -- leaders of the Faith Community Alliance -- are complaining that they were shut out of the process of choosing Bolgen Vargas as the new permanent city schools superintendent. Vargas has been interim superintendent since last May, when then-Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard left the job. Alliance leaders say they have great respect for Vargas and that their protest is not about him. Some alliance members have complained in the past about sex education in city schools and the quality of education in general. The ministers charge that Teachers’ Union President Adam Urbanski told the community who the new superintendent was going to be even before the process began and that Urbanski and Vargas favor the status quo. ‘The process was tainted. It was a sellout,’ according to Minister Franklin Florence. whec.com

Superintendent Hired by Stockton
The Press-Enterprise, April 25
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Steve Lowder has been hired to become superintendent of the Stockton (Calif.) Unified Schools District. The school board vote was 4-3 in favor of Lower, who has been superintendent of Hemet, Calif., schools for 21 months. The split vote came amid allegations by some board members that Lowder was using Stockton to pad his future retirement. The Stockton Record also reported there were allegations that one board member’s re-election campaign was offered $10,000 in exchange for support of Lowder, which that member denied. In the 22,000-student Hemet district, Lowder, 60, was earning $205,000 yearly under a contract renewed last summer to run through 2015. He will earn $225,000 yearly in the 37,000-student Stockton district, plus benefits that include a $600-per-month car allowance. pe.com

Limestone Board To Publicly Discuss Superintendent Candidates Thursday
Athens News-Courier, April 25
ATHENS, Ala.--The Limestone County School Board is preparing to narrow its choice from among five finalists for the position of school superintendent. The board is seeking a replacement for former Superintendent Barry Carroll, who retired last December. Salary for the position ranges from $113,000 to $130,000 a year. The finalists, picked from among 23 applicants, are Interim Limestone Superintendent Zebbra Green, Assistant Professor Dwight Pullen of Central Michigan University, Human Resources Supervisor Thomas Sisk of Baldwin County Schools, Tuscambia County Schools Superintendent Joe Walters, and Assistant Superintendent Leonard Westbrook of the Independence (Mo.) School District. enewscourier.com

Feud With School Board May Cost N.J. Superintendent Her Job
The Star-Ledger, April 19
PERTH AMBOY, N.J.--Perth Amboy Schools Superintendent Janine Caffrey may soon be looking for a new job after less than a year in office. The school board plans to vote soon on whether to fire the reform-minded Caffrey, who has the backing of the mayor and says she won't go down without a fight. Even against a backdrop of New Jersey's bare-knuckled business of public education, the Perth Amboy controversy is not routine. The school board accuses Caffrey of running rough-shod over them, but allegations have surfaced involving possible attempted fraud by board President Samuel Lebreault. The N.J. Attorney General's Office is investigating allegations that Lebreault improperly filed an application for the federally-subsidized school lunch program, an application that has mysteriously gone missing. Caffrey, who earns $172,500 a year and has two years remaining on her contract, says the board wants her out because she has cooperated with the state investigation and refused to give school district jobs to board members' friends. nj.com

3 Finalists Coming in Latest Quest for Seattle School Superintendent
Seattle Times, April 19
SEATTLE, Wash.--Since Seattle's School Board launched its search for a superintendent months ago, parents have debated whether the newcomer should be a local administrator with a grasp of regional issues, or a high-profile outsider with an urban track record. But the board has instead announced three low-key superintendents at medium-sized West Coast districts as finalists for the job. They are Jose Banda, 55, of Anaheim City Schools in Southern California; Steven Enoch, 62, of San Ramon Valley Unified School District in Northern California, and Sandra Husk, 55, of Oregon's Salem-Keizer School District. At 48,000 students, Seattle would be the largest district any has led. About 40 people applied for the $225,000-a-year job. The winner must face deep budget cuts, overcrowding and an achievement gap between comparatively wealthy students and poor ones.seattletimes.nwsource.com

Osceola Superintendent Chides School Board, Says He's Willing To Step Aside
Orlando Sentinel, April 18
KISSIMMEE, Fla.--Osceola County Schools Superintendent Terry Andrews has given School Board members a stinging critique of their behavior and said he'd be willing to step aside less than a year after he was promoted to the job. He said the board's attorney told him a majority of members would support his removal. But Attorney Usher Brown disputed that, saying he told Andrews some members would be open to the superintendent moving to another position in the 52,000-student district. A video showed Andrews challenging the board to end squabbles and micromanagement. 'All of the negativity has to stop... Egos and personal agendas have no place in this business,' he said. Andrews, due to retire in 2013, said that, if asked, he would serve out his contract in another role. Board Chairwoman Cindy Hartig said she was surprised. 'I'm just going to have to assume he was having an off day or was misinformed on something.' Hartig said, adding that she wants Andrews to remain superintendent.articles.orlandosentinel.com

Reno Leader Chosen in Two-Hour Closed Meeting
Charlotte Observer, April 20
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education has offered its superintendent's job to national Superintendent-of-the-Year Heath Morrison of Reno, Nev. Details are being negotiated but Morrison is eager to sign on. 'I am deeply honored and very excited about coming to one of the premier school districts in the country,' said Morrison, recently named 2012 Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. Memphis Superintendent Kriner Cash withdrew his candidacy as the board held a closed session where Morrison, 46, was the unanimous choice. Ann Clark, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools veteran who vied for the top job, pledged her support and said she'll stay with CMS. Despite a strong national reputation, CMS has been bruised by layoffs, testing, teacher ratings, school hours and faulty data. 'He's really committed to getting us to work together toward a common goal,' said board member Rhonda Lennon. 'I think he's gifted at working with people from all walks of life.' charlotteobserver.com

School Chief's $154,000 Pension Focuses California on Pay Spikes
BLOOMBERG, April 11
SAN FRANCISCO--The California State Teachers' Retirement System, the nation's second-biggest public-retirement plan, had assets to cover just 69 percent of liabilities in June, compared with the 75 percent state average in 2010, according to Bloomberg Rankings The system cut payments to a former San Francisco Bay Area superintendent after concluding that a $61,000 raise in his final year of work was intended to boost his pension. But in another case, Bloomberg adds, plan managers didn’t touch a charter school founder's retirement pay after finding that a 67 percent increase spread over her last three years of service wasn't designed to inflate her retirement pay. ‘The two episodes show the difficulty in restraining public worker pensions in the U.S., which often derive from earnings in the final years on the job,’ the report added. ‘The challenge is particularly acute for the California fund, also known as Calstrs.’ Read more: sfgate.com

Franklin County School Superintendent Challenges Lawmakers on Unfunded Mandates
Anderson Independent Mail, April 13
CARNESVILLE, Ga.--Franklin County Schools Superintendent Ruth O’Dell wants Georgia lawmakers to put a moratorium on any more unfunded mandates for public schools. At a recent breakfast, she expressed frustration to state Rep. Alan Powell and state Sen. John Wilkinson. ‘I’m just asking for a moratorium on all new bills, on any new laws or legislation until we’re fully funded,’ she said. When O’Dell started as superintendent five years ago, the system had more than $1 million in reserve to cover continued shortfalls in Quality Basic Education Act funding. But a continued shortfall in state funding has depleted the reserve. O’Dell said a series of changes have been made over five years that Georgia school systems have been required to implement while receiving no extra money from the state. ‘It’s very, very discouraging,’ she said. ‘And I want the people in our community to understand that … we don’t have the support we need from our state government.’ independentmail.com

Wellesley School Committee Announces Superintendent Finalists
Boston Globe, April 13
WELLESLEY, Mass.--Three finalists have been named by the Wellesley School Committee to become district superintendent succeeding Bella Wong at the end of this school year. Gerald Hill is superintendent of Glenview, Ill., School District 34; David Lussier is executive director of the Office of Educator Quality for Austin, Texas, Independent Schools, and Judith Paolucci is superintendent of the Yarmouth, Maine, Schools. They were chosen top contenders in this district in a nationwide search. The district has struggled to maintain community support after an array of problems. Last spring, it was discovered that the business department had failed to collect about $169,000 in school lunch debt. Wong announced her resignation on Nov. 10, and shortly afterwards business manager Ruth Quinn Berdell was put on voluntary leave and later fired. She is challenging the move. In October, a custodian at Wellesley Middle School was arrested on charges that he stole $20,000 in computer equipment and student-crafted jewelry, raising questions about background checks. boston.com

Gahanna Superintendent Search Down to Six
The Columbus Dispatch, April 13
GAHANNA, Ohio--Six candidates now remain from among 20 in the search to replace Gahanna-Jefferson Schools Superintendent Mark White. They are Robert Britton, superintendent of Ridgedale Schools in Morral, Ohio; James Grube, superintendent of Buckeye Valley schools in Delaware, Ohio; George Joseph, executive director of administrative services for Worthington schools; John Kellogg, assistant superintendent of curriculum for South-Western schools; Francis Robert Scruci:, superintendent of schools in Wellington Ohio, and Michael Zalar, superintendent of schools in Oregon, Ohio. White plans to resign for personal reasons on July 31, cutting short his three-year, $150,000-a-year contract by a year. Board members expect his replacement to begin the job Aug. 1. dispatch.com

Avon Appoints New Superintendent, 1st Woman in Job
Indianapolis Star, March 21
Avon, Ind. -- Margaret Hoernemann has become the first woman chosen as superintendent of Avon Community Schools. Dr. Hoernemann, who has been with the district for nearly 12 years and is currently assistant superintendent, succeeds Timothy Ogle, who announced his retirement earlier this year. 'I revere teachers, so it is an honor to lead them,' Hoernemann said in a news release from the district. 'It will always be the students, however, who motivate me to model the values we hope they will display.' Among those, she added, are hard work and a willingness to learn and grow. Avon Schools Board President Kim Woodward extolled the board’s decision to choose a new superintendent from current district staff. 'It has been a long time since someone has risen through the ranks to take this role,” Woodward said of Hoernemann, who holds a doctoral degree from Purdue University. indystar.com

CMS Board Interviews Superintendent Candidates At Airport
WFAE Radio, March 20
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Judiciously protecting the privacy of candidates to become superintendent of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, the school board has been interviewing some of them within the security area at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Most of the dozen or so superintendent candidates being interviewed come from out of town, and Board Chairman Ericka Ellis-Stewart says meeting at the airport gives candidates some privacy. 'Because at this stage in the game, candidates find that it's very important for them. Most of them are high performers in their district and to put it out prematurely for them would be problematic,' said Ellis-Stewart. It's not unusual for government bodies to interview candidates off-site due to privacy concerns. Interviews routinely occur in offices and hotels. The board recently met in public in a ticketing area and voted to go into closed session. Then, they took off shoes and belts and went through metal detectors into the secure area. The board's plan is to narrow the candidates down to as many as three and to present those to the public. wfae.org

13 Hour Meeting Ends With No Decision On New Greenville Co. Superintendent
WSPA-TV, March 24
GREENVILLE, S.C. -– The Greenville County School District Board has made no decision yet from among three candidates to become the new school superintendent. Following a recent meeting of more than 13 hours, the board said it had not agreed on the winner. Discussions will continue on three candidates: Lynn Moody, William Royster Jr., and Eugene White. The winner will replace retiring Superintendent Phinnize Fisher. Moody is superintendent of Rock Hill School District Three in York County, S.C.; Royster is deputy superintendent of Greenville County Schools, and White is superintendent of Indianapolis, Ind., Public Schools. A new superintendent is expected to be named shortly. www2.wspa.com

Former Grand Rapids Superintendent Bernard Taylor to Lead Second Largest School District in Louisiana
MLIVE, March 22
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Former Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor has been chosen to lead the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools District, the second largest in Louisiana. Taylor, who was placed on academic leave here in January until his resignation becomes effective in June, won the Louisiana job over Marie Pitre-Martin, director of K-12 curriculum and instruction for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Taylor, who has charged that new school board members here were responsible chiefly for his departure, will head a Louisiana district with 43,000 students and 6,000 employees. His base salary in Grand Rapids was $200,432 and he is slated to receive more than $400,000 under a buyout agreement with the local board. The Grand Rapids board had appointed interim Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal on Jan. 3 for six months but soon ended its superintendent search and extended her contract to 18-months, based on positive feedback from parents, teachers and community stakeholders. mlive.com

Mobile County Superintendent Search: 3 Finalists Named
AL.COM, March 13
MOBILE, Ala. – The Mobile County School Board has selected three finalists for the county’s vacant school superintendent job, two from Georgia and a third from Indiana. This is the board’s second attempt to find a replacement for Roy Nichols, who retired as superintendent in December. In November, the board brought in three other candidates for interviews, but because it was unable to agree on one, started the search anew. The three new finalists are Peggy Connell, chief academic officer of the 32,000-student Muscogee County School District in Columbus, Ga.; Dale Robbins, associate superintendent for teaching and learning of the 167,000-student Gwinnett County Public Schools near Atlanta; and Eugene White, superintendent of the 31,700-student Indianapolis Public Schools System. The board plans to name the new superintendent on March 30 after interviewing the candidates. blog.al.com

Washoe Schools Chief Proposes Plan to Close $40 Million Gap
Reno Gazette-Journal, March 12
RENO, Nev. -- Washoe County Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison is proposing bigger classes for high school students to help deal with a $40 million shortfall for the 2012-13 school year. But that, and using the last of the district’s reserve funds, doesn’t address a potential $80 million-plus shortfall for 2013-14. ‘That’s what keeps me up at night,’ Morrison told reporters. ‘We are still in the midst of a major recession. Our great state is impacted more than any other state.’ Morrison, recently named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators, said 90 percent of the current $600 million school budget is spent on 7,200 staffers, including 4,400 teachers. Washoe has raised high school graduation rates by 7 percent in each of the last two years. But with more cuts on the way, Morrison said he doesn’t expect those big gains to continue. Class sizes for fourth grade through high school next year would increase an average of a half-student and result in classes with 30 to 32 students, he said. rgj.com

Utah Legislature Passes Administrator Evaluation Bill
Deseret News, March 6
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –- The state legislature has almost unanimously passed a bill that would begin annual evaluations and performance-based pay for public school administrators. ‘Everything starts at the top and goes down,’ said Republican Rep. Francis Gibson. He said that by focusing on administrators first and teachers second, the bill better achieves the goal of a quality education for students. Under the bill, which drew only one ‘no’ vote in the House and one in the Senate, future salary increases for administrators would be tied to the evaluations until 15 percent of their salary is performance-based. Teachers would also be evaluated annually and would be ranked on a 1-4 scale for use in remediation, salary increases and termination. Democratic Rep. Carol Moss of Salt Lake City praised Republican Sen. Aaron Osmond of South Jordan, the bill’s chief sponsor, for listening to the feedback of Utah educators. Osmond spent numerous hours visiting classrooms and meeting with teachers, administrators and parents before drafting the bill. deseretnews.com

Jenkins Chosen as Orange's New Schools Superintendent
Sun Sentinel, March 15
ORLANDO, Fla. -– Barbara Jenkins, who is currently deputy superintendent, has been chosen to become superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, the nation’s 10th largest district. Named over two other finalists by a unanimous school board vote, Jenkins will take over when Ron Blocker retires this summer. ‘Student performance is what I am looking for in the district,’ School Board Chairman Bill Sublette said. ‘We have to have someone who recognizes we are not meeting the mark.’ ‘I am so excited.’ Jenkins said when Sublette called to give her the news. ‘We are going to work together and move forward.’ The board will negotiate with Jenkins on pay and benefits. The challenges of increasingly tougher state standards and competition from a growing number of charter schools has had the board seeking a leader who will fast track the system to higher academic achievement. sun-sentinel.com

150 Turn Out To Hear Finalists For Superintendent
Hartford Courant, Feb. 28
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- The New Britain schools system wants its new $200,000-a-year superintendent in office before July 1, and about 150 people turned out to question the three finalists. The crowd included several dozen parents and a sprinkling of students, but appeared to be mostly teachers and other school workers. The candidates gave separate presentations, but agreed that no single strategy, policy or curriculum change would solve the system's troubles. The finalists are Sadia White, a former Newark schools administrator who has been in charge of academic policy at a group of charter schools in Washington, D.C.; Robert Copeland, superintendent of the 7,300-student Piscataway, N.J., school system, and Kelt Cooper, superintendent of the 10,400-student school system in Del Rio, Texas. The superintendent will oversee a system that has created a series of new mini-learning centers and specialized academies in its schools, along with an innovative program to prepare high school students for careers in medicine and health. The system has hampered by staff and program cuts, a high dropout rate and low scores on reading tests. articles.courant.com

Superintendent: City Schools Near Desegregation Compliance
Valdosta Daily Times, March 1
VALDOSTA, Ga. –- The U.S. Justice Department has reached a settlement agreement with the Valdosta City School system to ensure desegregation of the district’s faculty and staff. ‘It hasn’t been approved by the federal judge yet, but it will be. We’re confident of that,’ said VCS Superintendent Bill Cason. The city has been dealing with the issue for more than four decades, and when Cason took over the district four years ago, he vowed to make desegregation a priority. ‘It’s been a lot of work. It’s been a long process,’ he told the Valdosta Daily Times, adding that VCS had to change its personnel procedures, its hiring policies, had to recruit additional African-American teachers and to balance the racial ratios based on the district average. According to the consent order, DOJ initiated the school desegregation lawsuit on Nov. 30, 1970. It has been modified several times since. The superintendent hopes that a federal judge will approve the final settlement within the next six months. valdostadailytimes.com

Lake Bluff District 65 Hires New Superintendent
News-Sun, March 1
LAKE BLUFF, Ill. –- Jean Sophie will become the new superintendent of Lake Bluff Elementary District 65 Schools. The district school board approved a three contract at $178,000 yearly and she will take over from Interim Superintendent Ben Martindale on July 1. Sophie, a Barrington resident, comes to the district with 14 years of school administrative experience. She has spent the last four years as superintendent of west suburban Westchester District 92½, a K-8 grade district with 1,290 students and three attendance centers in Cook County. The Lake Bluff district received 47 written applications for the position and 12 candidates were initially interviewed. The district will host several receptions in the spring and summer so that the community will have the opportunity to meet Sophie. newssun.suntimes.com

Middleton Named Superintendent at Newport
The Ledger Independent, March 1
NEWPORT, Ky. -- Kelly Middleton has been named superintendent of Newport Independent Schools and will take over on July 1 with a four-year contract. He is leaving the job of associate superintendent of Mason County Schools after 14 years in that system. ‘The decision is bittersweet, one that affords new challenges and opportunities,’ said Middleton in a message to his current district, where he has grown up as a student, ball player, principal, assistant superintendent and associate superintendent. Newport Independent is comprised of four schools -- elementary, intermediate, middle and high school -- and has an enrollment of approximately 1,800 students. That’s equivalent to the Mason County district. "I know there's work to be done ... it doesn't bother me to be in an inner city school,’ Middleton said. ‘I'm excited and I hope to make some significant changes for the kids.’ maysville-online.com

Washoe County SD Heath Morrison named AASA 2012 Superintendent of the Year
KRNV-TV, Feb. 16
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Superintendent Heath Morrison of the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nev., has been named the 2012 American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year. He was honored at the AASA National Conference on Education in Houston. ‘We can learn from his success,’ said association Executive Director Daniel Domenech with high praise for Morrison, chief of the diverse 63,000-student district since 2009. ‘Despite the fact that Nevada’s once-booming economy has been in steep decline,’ added Domenech, ‘Heath has led his community in the development of a district-wide five-year strategic plan to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education and graduates from high school ready for college or a career.’ The annual award is co-sponsored by AASA, the ING Foundation and ARAMARK Education. Between 2009 and 2011, the Washoe graduation rate jumped from 56 to 70 percent, with increases in every student subgroup. Morrison has a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Planning and, as the winner, is entitled to give a $10,000 college scholarship to a student at the high school from which he graduated or a student at a high school in the Reno district. mynews4.com

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy Addresses Miramonte Sex-Abuse Allegations
Los Angeles Times, Feb. 18
LOS ANGELES -- In the wake of two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School being charged with lewd acts with students, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy is assuring remaining teachers and staff that they will have an opportunity to return to the school. The two accused teachers have been removed and face criminal charges. In a controversial step, Deasy also temporarily removed all other staff from the school. But in a video address to them, Deasy told the staff that ‘the actions of the arrested teachers at Miramonte … do not reflect on you or your professionalism.’ Miramonte activities have been temporarily relocated to the unopened Augustus Hawkins High School nearby. ‘I want to say that again. Just because a few members have [allegedly] done terrible things, that are being dealt with appropriately by law enforcement officials, that does not reflect on the amazing teaching, leadership and classified staff that I see every day in LAUSD,’ Deasy said. He added that lessons could be learned from the tragedy, and that the primary lesson is that the district could bolster training of its staff on how to handle and report child abuse. latimesblogs.latimes.com

Meet Our 2012 ‘Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award’ Winners
eSchool News, Feb. 1
BETHESDA, Md. -- Ten public school district superintendents from eight states have won this year’s prestigious ‘Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award’ from eSchool News. Only Kansas and Wisconsin provided two winners each in the competition to recognize those who seek cutting-edge technology paths to help America’s youngsters in school and to make the public better aware of the issues. The ‘exemplary’ winners are Todd Yohey, Oak Hills Local School District in Cincinnati, Ohio; Mark Evans, Andover (Kan.) Public Schools; Daniel Frazier, Sioux Central Community School District in Sioux Rapids, Iowa; Nicholas Gledich, Colorado Springs (Colo.) School District 11; Michele Hancock, Kenosha (Wisc.) Unified School District; Michael Hanson, Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District; C.J. Huff, Joplin (Mo.) Schools; Jerri Kemble, Centre School District in Lost Springs, Kan.; Bradford Saron, Cashton (Wisc.) Public Schools, and William Skilling, Oxford (Mich.) Community Schools. Read on for what their districts are doing at eSchoolnews.com

Superintendent: Local Education Control Needed
KELO-TV, Feb. 14
TIMBER LAKE, S.D. -- School Superintendent Jarod Larson in this small, remote South Dakota community wants the state legislature to give more local control to educators. The state’s tenure bill recently passed the House, and Larson says it would be a vehicle for the control change. ‘Some of it is geographic; some of it is culture. The local control piece is key to schools being able to operate effectively,’ says Larson, adding that he is thankful the governor is pushing for another $15 million toward education. But the superintendent argues that he, other administrators and the school board know how to best spend it in Timber Lake. Larson, for example, does not support the bonus plan for new math and science teachers. He's afraid it could create a negative environment. And his district has staffing needs that don’t include math and science at this time. keloland.com

K-12 Funding Perpetuates the Inequity of Opportunity
Rebel 6 Rambling, Jan. 7
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -– Superintendent David Britten of the Godfrey-Lee Public Schools District here pulls no punches. ‘Let me be clear about my position,’ the retired U.S. Army officer writes in a recent blog. ‘There is very little equity of opportunity in our (the nation’s) K-12 system when it comes to education and making a better life for one’s self.’ Britten is a passionate advocate for proportionately higher school spending on low-income, English-language-deficient and other deprived students to help them make up for the head-start owned by children with advantages in life. Why, he asks, if an affluent district can afford to have parents foot the bill for technology, does it continue getting nearly $300 more per pupil in combined state and local funding than his district? ‘They have more, so they get more? Is that it?’ wonders Britten, who is also assailing Michigan’s governor and Republican-led legislature for cutting overall funding on K-12 education. rebel6.blogspot.com

State Supreme Court Again Rules Basic Education Is State Duty
Issaquah Press, Jan. 10
ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 that the legislature has consistently failed to live up to Washington’s Constitutional mandate to fully fund basic public education for every child. Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen says he is cautiously optimistic over the decision, but that much work has to be done to change the current funding formula. ‘At the very least, it (the ruling) provides a pretty clear standard to lawmakers about their ability to further cut K-12 services during this upcoming legislative session,’ he said as lawyers poured over the Jan. 5 ruling. But, Rasmussen added, ‘It will take some serious reform before we get a funding system that comes close to covering the actual cost of a basic education in this state.’ State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn praised the decision, adding that ‘further cuts are out of the question.’ issaquahpress.com

Three School Districts Will Merge Teaching Efforts
Lancaster Online, Jan 3
LANCASTER, Pa. -- Three local school districts -- Penn Manor, Hempfield and Manheim Township --plan to unveil an ‘open campus’ project next fall that is believed to be the first collaborative effort of its kind in Pennsylvania. Some students at the schools could be taught face-to-face, others online and still others through a mix of classroom and computer-based instruction. Tuition would be free and students could enroll in specialty courses such as Latin and Business Spanish that their home schools might not offer. And by taking classes at night or over the summer, they could earn a diploma faster than their peers. Across Pennsylvania, many school districts have their own cyberschools or contracts with outside companies or groups to offer online courses. But this is the first time districts have collaborated to offer their own courses taught by their teachers in online and ‘live’ formats to students from multiple districts. ‘Choice is coming whether we like it or not, and we need to get out in front of it," said Hempfield Superintendent Brenda Becker. lancasteronline.com

Shelby County Schools Chief Backed Firing of Teacher Accused of Molesting Students
Birmingham News, Jan. 12
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Former Shelby County Schools Superintendent Norma Rogers says she strongly recommended firing teacher Daniel M. Acker Jr. in 1993 after he was accused of molesting an 11-year-old student in 1991. But, she told the Birmingham News in an interview, there was no indictment and school board members voted unanimously to return him to the classroom. Acker Jr., 49, was arrested on Jan. 4 after a 12-year-old girl accused him of touching her inappropriately while she was in his fourth-grade class at Thompson Intermediate School in 2009, the year he retired. He has now reportedly confessed to molesting more than 20 girls during his career as a teacher in Shelby schools. Among the cases Acker has confessed to, police say, is the 1991 incident, for which he was charged on Jan. 13. Acker is being held in jail on $545,000 bond. blog.al.com