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, January 13, 2011

Gazette Profile of Dr. Gerald Kohn

I'm posting a link to a story in the Gazette about Dr. Gerald Kohn, the superintendent finalist we will see on Thursday, January 20th (  I will just remind blog readers that I believe all three finalists deserve a fair treatment by our community (and whichever person is selected should be warmly welcomed by our entire community).  I really hope all parents/teachers/community members will take the time to attend the various sessions and talk directly with Dr. Kohn to learn more about his background, experience, and vision for our schools. 


Anonymous said...


When will we see a profile of the two other candidates. If we do not see them here this is beyond the pale policking on your part for one of the Superintendent candidates. You tell your readers you will not post anything positive or negative about the candidates and I think you should stick to that yourself.

I expect to see your posts of profiles of the other candidates as soon as possible.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Anonymous 6:54 - I post what appears in the Gazette; I didn't write this profile and I have no control over what profile Nick Grabbe completes first! My understanding is that a profile will appear of each of the three finalists, and I will certainly be posting each of these.

FR Parent said...

Can you explain the disparity in the posted resumes of the three candidates? Dr. Kohn's is typical of a resume format with dates included. Dr. Bayless' resume is typical in form yet lacks any dates. How many years did he serve in each of those positions? I think that is important. Meanwhile, Ms. Geryk's resume is more of a narrative than an actual resume. Is it possible to get more information on Ms. Geryk (including dates of employment in various positions) and all the employment dates for Dr. Bayless?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

FR Parent - I agree that having the same format/info would be useful. The finalists were each asked (by the search consultants) to produce a one page biographical statement to release to the media, so they got to choose what to present. I believe it would be appropriate to ask finalists for more details (e.g., how long were you in X job?) at any of the public forums next week.

mellower said...

Anon 6:54 a.m.--A bit crabby before having your coffee?

Ed said...

Two things -- first, Anon 6:54 may disagree, but do we all note that the headline was Finalist Fired From Previous Job -- that is not exactly flattering and how Catherine posting it is "pale policking" on her part for this candidate (if that is what Anon 6:54AM meant) is beyond me.

Second, Catherine, while you are honorable enough to support whoever is selected -- as you did with the prior Superintendent although he was not your first choice, I have no such intent.

I intend to observe this from the empiricist standard that applies to educational research and if I don't see evidence that the person hired is the most qualified, I will say that. As Lillian Hellman once told Joe McCarthy, "I can not trim my conscience to fit this year's fashions."

Ed said...

One other thing -- let us not forget Michelle Rhee, the former Superintendent of the District of Columbia who "resigned" when Mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated in the 2010 primary.

Unless you walk the streets outside of the tourist areas, it is impossible to realize just how screwed up the District is -- watching them attempt snow removal last February was rather hilarious. Its schools were in the running for being both the most expensive and worst performing and observers on both the left and right agreed that Rhee was making great strides in cleaning up the mess.

She closed some schools so the money could be put into programs that would benefit the children (anyone remember someone else who did that?), she made dramatic improvements in the educational outcome of a largely-minority, largely-high-risk student body.

Then Mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated in the primary and she was gone.

Both Billy Bulger and Jack Wilson were forced out by a new governor -- for very different reasons, but that is what happened with both leaving before their second term expired. When Charlena Seymour became UM Provost, she replaced all the deans, when Holub came in, she was replaced -- these things are common.

It is very common for a new person to solidify a powerbase by replacing all of the strong people on the layer below with his/her/its "own team."

And when I served on a very visible high level search, we reviewed a LOT of candidates who had been fired from somewhere, usually by a new administration seeking to 'clean house.' These things happen.

There are a lot of good people who have been fired -- it is the person who hasn't that I start to wonder about...

Anonymous said...

Dear "Ed"

An expensive search firm fielded applications from approx. 30 potential candidates from across the country; they narrowed that to the best 5 candidates; a committee of parents, teachers, administrators, and s.c. members narrowed the 5 down to the best 3; the s.c has said that they are confident that any one of these three will be able to lead our district successfully.

But you apparently have a magical empirical standard that will be able to determine the MOST qualified of the three. The s.c. may get the answer wrong, but you will make sure we all hear the correct answer.

Have I got that correct, "Ed"?

Anonymous said...

Ed, how can you empirically measure which candidate matches the community's stated qualities regarding what they are looking for in a superintendent?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

So, just want to say that I'm not going to post comments on the qualifications (present or absent) of any of the finalists. I would hope, perhaps naively, that community members would actually like to meet the two external finalists and hear their answers to questions and learn more about their experiences/backgrounds/vision before deciding on their favorite. I believe this is an extremely important decision for the future of our schools, and given that we all have extensive information about the internal finalist, I believe we certainly owe it to the other two finalists to learn more about them, and how they do/do not match the leadership profile developed by our search firm, before making a decision. As with any job, all finalists will have pros/cons ... and ultimately it will be up to 10 people to decide how to weigh the pros/cons of each finalist.