My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Not finding right person, Amherst delays a search

By NICK GRABBE

Hampshire Gazette
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

AMHERST - The search for a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and development has been abandoned.

The school district's financial problems were not a factor in the decision to abandon the search. The national economic downturn may have caused some candidates to decide to stay in their jobs, said Kathleen Mazur, the director of human resources.

A committee reviewed 30 resumes and interviewed six candidates for the position, which carries a salary of between $100,000 and $115,000 a year. But no one was hired, and the search will resume in the fall.

"We wanted to find a world-class assistant superintendent, and we saw some terrific people, but their skills didn't translate well into the full range of things we were expecting," said Mazur.

The duties include working with principals on teacher evaluation, mentoring and designing professional development. This year they have been handled by Fran Ziperstein and previously by Wendy Kohler. Next year, a combination of outside consultants and in-house specialists in particular curriculum areas will handle these responsibilities at a cost of $60,000, Mazur said.

School Committee member Irv Rhodes called the suspension of the search "shocking" and said, "Not having an extra pair of hands, especially for teacher evaluation, leaves a giant hole."

Meanwhile, the latest list of proposed cuts shows the equivalent of 29.6 full-time positions in the regional schools and 23.59 at the elementary level.

Assistant principals at the high school and middle school are on the cut list. At the high school, cuts include 8.2 teacher positions, half a student activities coordinator position and one guidance counselor. At the middle school, cuts include five team teachers, two other teachers, a .4-time performing music teacher and a guidance counselor or librarian. Four paraprofessional positions and four support staff are on the cut list.

20 comments:

LarryK4 said...

So let me guess: only middle-aged white males applied?

Anonymous said...

Larry, You can ask a direct question instead of cynically implying you know the reason that the search was halted (and will be re-started) was because the gender and race of the applicants was unsatisfactory and that the process has built-in discrimination against white men. You yourself take accusations of racism as a serious charge so why do you in turn raise the question with flip snark? Grow up and walk the walk you talk.

Anonymous said...

Will the money saved by not filling this position be used closer to the kids? by restoring a teacher or two, or an assistant principal?

Anonymous said...

Gee Anon 1:17, hostile or what?

Anonymous said...

G anon @ 9:27, or what. Accusing someone of gender and race discrimination without substantiating it with any (zero) facts is disrespectful, uncivil and unjustifiable. If you regard my response of hostile, that's your problem. I took the time to make it reasoned and clearly stated. If Larry has some facts he would like to share, rather than an unfounded implication about racism and sex-based discrimination then I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

Wow, no anger there.

Anonymous said...

no anger

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I fully understand the implication in just what Larry is saying here, although if I had to I might agree that the very sample of what he is referring to outnumbers most of the high held postions in this fine system...Excepting of course the new superintendent now sitting. Larry--why don't you, along with your attempt at exposing just how discriminitory this system is, expose how corupt it is too?

LarryK4 said...

Sorry, I'm off to Korea in the next few days and don't have the time to expose a generation or two of PC bullshit in the People's Republic of Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Going to miss you. Have a good trip.

LarryK4 said...

Oh don't worry, South Korea is probably more tech savvy than the good old USA.

After all, I have to keep up (via the web) with antiquated Amherst Town Meeting.

Anonymous said...

What is PC?? And safe travel to you!

LarryK4 said...

PC stands for "politically correct," a way of life often found in People's Republics.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

I was the SC representative on the search committee ... and I actually agreed with the decision to suspend the search! This is a crucial position, and I think we need the right person (and it is a BIG and NEW job for our district). I am hopeful that we will re-open the search later this year and have much success in finding someone truly perfect for our needs.

The money has already been put into this year's budget -- with some saved out to hire consultants to do some of the work this person would have done (netting only about $30,000 or $40,000 in each of the elementary and regional budgets). But yes, that money has already been allocated to save positions. However, no assistant principal positions were cut, so this is not an area in which restorations were needed.

And doesn't Larry already have a blog in which people can slam his ideas anonymously?!?

Anonymous said...

This isn't a NEW job Ms. S. The assistant superintendent position fizzled out when the old one suffered a stroke years ago...
By hiring a new one now sort of tells us--there must be some secret stash of money laying around that no one knows what else to do with. And now with all the money saved by closing MM why not use that money? One more administrator aboard a sinking ship just might help... I only hope that this one is honest and will clean up the coruptness s/he will be forced to deal with. Could this be what you are holding out for--someone who will keep blind to it???

Anonymous said...

Catherine, I would have dropped this until you characterized my response to Larry's "ideas" as slamming.

I can read from your response that you do not substantiate Larry's idea about the process being driven by a desire to choose a candidate who is not white and male.

What about Larry's idea do you consider reasonable dialogue? What about my response do you consider "slamming"?

This is Larry's idea: "So let me guess: only middle-aged white males applied?"

Is this me "slamming his ideas anonymously": "Larry, You can ask a direct question instead of cynically implying you know the reason that the search was halted (and will be re-started) was because the gender and race of the applicants was unsatisfactory and that the process has built-in discrimination against white men. You yourself take accusations of racism as a serious charge so why do you in turn raise the question with flip snark? Grow up and walk the walk you talk."

Ok the "grow up...' part was gratuitous so I apologize but wasn't Larry's entire comment unsubstantiated accusation of gender and race bias innapropriate because it is completely unsubstantiated?

If Larry's jaded attitude is a result of prior decision making that was prejudice against white males, Ok but that is not what is being discussed in your post.

Are you arguing that Larry's idea is valid?

If so, was the response I made really me "slamming" Larry's ideas?

Abbie said...

To anon@1228

I took Catherine's invitation to "slam" Larry on his blog to mean we shouldn't waste our time on Larry (who LOVES the attention) on this blog. Engaging Larry is a pure waste of time and energy for everyone who wants to add to the reasoned education discussion. One could even interpret her reply as an "invitation" to slam Larry (I don't know if this was the intent...) but just not on this blog.

I hope Larry has a very long trip...

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 12:12 - this is a new job this year, meaning there is no one currently holding this position in our district. The money came for hiring this person by eliminating two other curriculum positions in our district -- go through my old blog entries and you can see this clearly explained.

Anonymous 12:28 - the point of this blog is to discuss issues related to education, and that's what I'm discussing. Larry's comment didn't do that (he was clearly joking or trying to get a rise out of an anonymous poster -- which clearly he did!), so I ignored it. Again, if you want to have this debate with Larry, (a) use your name, as he uses his, and (b) use his blog!

Anonymous said...

...feeling sort of silly here, but I am just getting what Larry was intending to say. It's funny when someone raises to the light just what this system is all about they are disregarded...
However you look at it the assistant superintendent is not a new job. It is a job that has existed before so therefore you cannot call it new and fanangle your words as you so often do here. The bottom line is the point that money is being sucked out of the educational needs of the kids by hiring yet another consultant crew and wasting the time of another search committee.
Can we be told some semblance of truth as to why the standing curriculum directors are leaving?

Anonymous said...

Catherine @ 3:04 PM , Got it. Thanks.