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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amherst's Rhodes mulls Regional School Committee chairmanship

This article just got posted, and I think speaks for itself ( Note: I am walking into SC meetings from 2 pm until .... 9 pm (?), so I won't be posting comments on any articles for the next few hours.


Anonymous said...

Tonight's meeting is a perfect example of why Amherst Regional needs to change it's way of conducting business.

Shocking that the Superintendent had the audacity to override the Amherst SC members' clear desire to speak about who the new chair. Why did no one object that the process was not correct ? Can anyone shut up Ms. Geryk ? She has not been elected and is clearly just trying to divide the Amherst committee as a means to protect her backside and to get the job she clearly wants but may not deserve.

Since when do such important decisions take place without any - ANY - deliberation ? Do we all look so foolish ?

That said I do not think the outcome is so bad. Rick Hood is a fine fellow - but the question remains will he stand up to the administrator that clearly did whatever she could to engineer his election.

Tonight's performance was a clear argument in favor of Amherst removing itself from the Union 26 Agreement.

Would that Geryk were as accomplished a superintendent as she is a behind-the-scenes politician.

Also, ironic that Hajir bows out as an open meeting violation is discovered. Thank goodness that he can no longer vote on the Regional committee and continue to do damage to our schools and the fabric of our community.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"Tonight's performance was a clear argument in favor of Amherst removing itself from the Union 26 Agreement."

Ok,I'll does being in the Union or not being in the Union change the vote for Regional chair?

Anonymous said...

Yes, divide and conquer appears to be the Geryk strategy.

Her appointment as permanent Super appears to be a done deal.

Perhaps it's time to figure out how to move our elementary schools out of her domain.

The dying to interject, the mugging to other school officials in the back of the room, it's all going to get old fast. Can we credit this time as interim against the average 3-5 year sentence for a permanent Superintendent these days?

Good luck to Rick Hood having to cope with all of this. I suspect that it will continue until the attempt to unseat Catherine has been tried and failed.

Anonymous said...

I think Rick Hood is a bright and committed member of the SC who truly wants the best for all children. I voted for him and encouraged all my friends to do so as well. I worry, though, that he will be unable/unwilling to stand up to Superintendent Geryk (and it is clear someone needs to). He seems to be all about consensus and working it out and getting along. All well and good but sometimes there are genuine disagreements and misbehavior and then the chair really needs to step in and put people in their place. I hope he proves me wrong. Good luck, Rick!

Nina Koch said...


The link doesn't work because the URL doesn't have a "z" in Gazette. If you add the z it will work.

Anonymous said...

Oh boo hoo hoo....
So two can play at this game. Good for Maria Geryk, she was completely within her rights legally and within Roberts rules of order. The exact same result would have been achieved in either case, it's the same people voting and they knew who they wanted to vote for. Maria just saved us having to endure hours of the same old power grabbers off gassing in an attempt to get their way. The suffocating atmosphere of self importance on the committee is getting old real fast. Don't let the postings on this blog fool you there are silent majority of people who don't read or post who are getting real sick of it.

Anonymous said...

" get the job she (Geryk) clearly wants but may not deserve."

Where are people getting this idea that interim Superintendent Geryk wants the permanent superintendent job? She made a deliberate choice to not apply last time around after serving as interim, and she has never said that she wants the job or will apply. Where are you all getting this from?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Anonymous 10:50 - people are getting that idea from the fact that (a) Maria has said it several times to the press over the last few months (see Gazette coverage), and (b) at the last SC meeting, the new member from Leverett (Kip Fonsch) said that we should just appoint Maria as the permanent superintendent WITHOUT doing any search (which Kathy Mazur then said would be perfectly fine and legal if we wanted to do that).

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ms. Sanderson.

re your 7/24 11:15 response: I'm not sure I understand how the new Leverett member saying the committee should appoint the interim superintendent permanently suggests that Ms. Geryk wants or will apply for the job... but I suppose that's really not important.

Also, I have heard through the grapevine that Ms. Geryk has many professional options available to her at this point, and that there are other districts out there that are interested in her. I'm just suggesting that there seems to be a lot of assumptions being made.

Regardless, I choose to remain optimistic about the chances that you folks will eventually succeed in getting a decent candidate to apply here, who will benefit our school system and our town.

Thanks for the forum to say my bit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, good!! I hope other districts are looking for a superintendent candidate with no experience other than intertim stints here in town and snatch Maria Geryk away from us! Perhaps they are interested in some special ed administrators as well.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Maria will apply for the vacant super position in Northampton. If she were to be hired, some of you would get your wish -- to have a super search before Maria's 18 month term is up.

I don't feel that is truly the best outcome for Amherst -- yet another school year with no one at the helm?!

Consider yourselves lucky, perhaps, to have someone reasonable in the acting super position. Not as experienced as many would like to see, and the process that put her there was flawed, but you have to agree, she is neither a goldbricker nor bizarrely out of synch with the Amherst school system.

And -- she isn't overpaid, over-benefitted or over her head.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, will you please include a link to the Gazette article where Geryk says she wants the job?


Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 8:51 - this isn't about Maria Geryk now, and it has never been about Maria. It is about whether residents of Amherst get to have input on who their superintendent is. I believe they should. They didn't get a chance to on March 9th, when Maria was appointed by a 4 to 6 vote, in part because the posted agenda didn't even mention "selection of a superintendent" as a topic. I think that is unfair to Amherst voters, and thus I opposed her selection THAT evening on principal. Maria should apply for any jobs that interest her in Amherst or elsewhere. And if Amherst residents support the work she is doing, I'm sure they'll communicate their preferences to the SC, and I'm sure those preferences will be thoroughly considered by the SC (just as I took the community's preference into account when I voted for David Sklarz last year). David Sklarz had served as a superintendent for three different school districts for something like 16 years ... I think we would have to call him "a decent candidate"!

Anonymous 10:57 - the Northampton job will begin July 1, 2011, which is when Maria's term in Amherst expires. She wouldn't be leaving early from Amherst.

Anonymous 11:56 - I already posted this link on my blog -- April 9, 2010 Gazette. Here's the quote: "And if the School Committee is pleased with her performance, and she feels she's making a positive contribution, she said would she like to stay in the job longer than 15 months.

"If I feel like I'm able to support the district moving in the direction of the vision of the wider community, I would absolutely like to do it," she said."

That seems pretty conclusive to me, yes?

Anonymous said...

I have learned to never assume that quotes in newspaper articles are accurate. I don't mean that as a slam against reporters, it's just the truth.

If the quote is in fact accurate, there a lot of qualifiers there. So far, is the SC pleased with her performance? I know that in the wider community, students, parents, teachers, other administrators, residents without children in the schools, town officials, members of other boards, etc., are so far very pleased with her performance. Now, certainly, I'm sure you've heard differently from MANY parents who have contacted you, and this probably surprises you to hear, but just to let you know, from someone out here, the general public is quite pleased.

Anonymous said...

I think that more important than the fairness question is this: is there progress that can only be made with superintendent leadership that has experience and training that is deeper, different, and more varied than Ms. Geryk's?

I don't know what standard of performance people are using to say that they are satisfied with her. If the standard is "better than Alberto", I think that it is just plain defeatist to think that we can't do better than that.

I'm unclear what we and our children get out of "stability" for its own sake beyond the summer of 2011. It may in fact be that, if School Committee members from the three hill towns continue to insist that she should stay longer, there is a clear divergence of interest between Amherst and those towns, as Catherine and Steve have been asserting all along. But right now, I say it ain't necessarily so.

This is why I wish Ms. Geryk would take herself out of the search. Perhaps it is too much to responsibly ask of her. But then we could take as long as we need to find the best successor: if need be, beyond the middle of 2011. And I believe she would immediately see her effectiveness, and the weight of what she says and does, increase with everyone.