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, January 18, 2011

Gazette Profile of Dr. Gerald Kohn

Here's the next profile of the superintendent finalists from the Gazette (  Again, let me encourage all parents and community members to come out and meet these finalists, particularly those who are less familiar to our community, and share your thoughts about their background, experience, and fit with the School Committee.  Feedback forms will be available at each public session (8 to 9 am, ARMS cafeteria, 2:30 to 3:30 WW library, 6 to 8 pm ARHS library), and emails can be sent to the entire School Committee at:


Anonymous said...

From Gazette Talkback posting:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 5:00am - Dr. Kohn

I worked for four years for the Harrisburg School District as the Director of Communications and the Executive Director of the district's Public School Foundation, from 2006 through 2010. Gerald Kohn recruited me for the position, and I left my post as editor-in-chief of Harrisburg Magazine and Lehigh Valley Magazine to join his team because I was so impressed with what they had done so far for the very needy children of Harrisburg, where I have lived for 27 years and raised my family. Prior to being an editor, I was an English and German teacher at a private high school and an adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College, and I leapt at the chance to help these leaders make a difference for so many at-risk childen and teens.

The administrative team Dr. Kohn put together in Harrisburg was fantastic. They implemented the very best educational practices and, together with teachers who were finally receiving the professional development and supports they deserve, were making incredible strides in a district no one in Harrisburg thought would ever function properly, never mind produce college-bound graduates.

I was there the night the new Mayor's Board of Control dismissed Dr. Kohn from his post. Parents, teachers, students, and district alums had come out to support him, bearing signs and presenting heartfelt testimonials, but the board ignored them.

What the new mayor's board did in removing Dr. Kohn was not only illegal, but also, in my view, immoral. Dr. Kohn and his team's visionary reform had completely transformed the district between 2001 and 2009. Pass rates on state tests doubled. The magnet school students were outperforming their suburban peers on state tests and in academic competitions. The drop out rate was cut in half. Raising test scores while cutting drop outs is unheard of in urban American schools, but against all odds, Dr. Kohn did it in Harrisburg. I have learned to credit his years of experience and training, as well as his natural leadership ability. His departure has been a great loss to the children of Harrisburg, whose interests he always put first.


Parents in any district fortunate enough to hire Gerald Kohn will know in a nanosecond the extraordinary gift they have received. He worked wonders in an underfunded urban district with the poorest student body in Pennsylvania. He proved that it's possible, with the right leadership, to achieve in public schools what so many believe is only achievable in private and charter schools. He's the most dedicated, experienced, and ethical educational leader I've ever had the privilege to meet. I was fortunate to have worked with him and to have learned so much from him and his team.

Anonymous said...

So, Catherine, what happened to your pledge not to post postive or negative comments about the Super finalists?

Anonymous said...


On January 12th you wrote:

I also want to note that I will not post any remarks that comment (positively or negatively) on any of the three finalists: people who have questions and/or comments should review the candidates full credentials (to be posted soon on the ARPS website), and attend events with the candidates next week.

Why did you post the comment regarding Dr. Kohn?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm -an insider in his administration supporting the person who hired her- a useful critique I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

As the last post wondered, I am too am wondering about why the Gazette Talkbalk posting in support of Dr. Kohn was allowed here, and postings against Dr. Kohn are not.