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, February 15, 2011

Maria Geryk Appointed to Permanent Superintendent

You can read the press release at:


Anonymous said...

The article does not tell how various committee members voted. Was it unanimous? If not, who voted for and who against?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Steve and I abstained, Rob hadn't arrived at the meeting at the time of the vote. All other 7 members (Irv, Rick, 5 non-Amherst members) voted in favor.

LarryK4 said...

And those evil conservative accountable types who frequent my evil blog over on the wrong side of the Amherst blogosphere/tracks would like to know when the formal evaluation kicks in?

Curious observer said...

How did Irv and Rick get from their rather searing view that MG doesn't like to address problems or people who disagree with her and a 1 year wait and see deal-- to a 3 year contract? What changed? Their views or their ability to stand up for their views?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Larry - my recollection is that evaluations are to be completed by February 1st of 2012 and 2013.

Curious Observer - Rick voted on all occasions to appoint Maria for 3 years, so he didn't change his view. I imagine that Irv felt comfortable changing his vote based on the contract language/evaluation.

Anonymous said...

The contract goes thu June 2013, with the possibility of one year extensions after that. So, it is not a 3 year is a 2 year contract.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that you and Steve abstained. Many school committees, after a split vote determines which candidate gets the job, then has a unanimous vote as a way of moving on and pledging support for the new superintendent. As a candidate, she did not have your support. But now she is the districts' superintendent and you want her to succeed.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Anonymous 4:34 - here's my quote in today's Bulletin: Catherine Sanderson, the outgoing School Committee member who did not vote for Geryk, said it's time to pull together behind the superintendent.

"It's imperative that all members of the School Committee and the community support Ms. Geryk in her efforts to tackle the immense problems our community is facing," she said. "The success of our schools will be dependent on her efforts and work, and we all want her to succeed."

I believe that quote is pretty clear in my hope that Maria is successful.

But when I vote, I need to make sure I feel good about that vote and that I can stand by it and justify it to others. And I didn't feel I could do that if I voted "yes" for all the reasons I identified at the meeting on February 6th. Thus, I abstained.

Anonymous said...

God almighty, 4:34 pm. How much more do you want from this woman? Give it (and us) a rest.

Tom Porter said...

I would have abstained too, and on this basis (review the bidding):

Irv had crafted a compromise, and on the predicate that the SC unify to offer his compromise 1-year contract, he flipped the U26 vote to 4-2.

Although the 1 year term was proffered, the SC obviously found itself ultimately voting several days later on a 2 year deal - a term that likely would not have gotten sufficient U26 support had it been proposed outright.

So the maneuver that nudged Amherst from 3 unified against to 2 against /1 "for" was the classic Trojan Horse negotiation - only it was Irv himself who set it in motion - unusual.

In Steve or Catherine's shoes, if I'd opposed making the Geryk selection, and then upon her selection I'd opposed offering a 1-year term, why would I vote to FOR a 2-year term? I could have voted AGAINST, but that's divisive. Voting to ABSTAIN is the respectful answering bid, and seems the only classy thing to do in the situation.

One no-trump.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Tom - thank you for so eloquently describing exactly how and why I abstained - much appreciated!

Brain said...

Oh let's get real.

It's obvious that you and Steve abstained because you didn't support Maria Geryk and compromise of any sort, even from one year to two years, isn't in your repertoire.

If you really cared about doing what's best for the school, for the children, for the town, and for our future, you would have voted for the two-year contract. Geryk was getting hired anyway. Supporting her for two years rather than one, especially when you are leaving the SC sets an tone of support on the school community.

But, then, I don't think you really care about that. You seem to only care about you. Is that right?

Tom Porter said...

Hi "Brain" 8:50,

ABSTAIN was the only vote that represents a stand on principle.

In the final strokes, Geryk was going to get the contract with or without Steve or Catherine's votes.

In the fallacious and a priori structuring that pervades some comments on this blog (e.g., "Because the internal candidate was selected, that means the national search was unnecessary;" "Because Maria Geryk emerged as the selected candidate, that means the search proved she was the best candidate"), to vote FOR Maria would not only have been a betrayal of principle - and at least some, perhaps many, constituents - but would later have been used as a club ("You made such a fuss about Maria but in the end you voted for her! Arrgghhhh!!").

Where will I be able to go to find peculiar ideas like these, when this blog comes down in a few weeks?


Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Once again, I couldn't have said it better than Tom (on all fronts)!

Anonymous said...

Brain: as an observer of the blog, and a parent of children in private schools, it is clear that if Catherine only cared about herself, she would have spent all of her energy investing in herself and her children outside of Amherst schools. Why all of this headache from everyone?

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that some parents in Amherst still have principles. It's also obvious that many who post on this blog don't have a clue about civility, respect and they lack principles.