Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Update by School Board Member Chris Marks

As a member of the school board and as a parent in this district, I am very encouraged by the superintendent-search process so far. The board interviewed several search firms for this job, and were impressed by the professionalism and apparent capabilities of each. In the end, we unanimously agreed to hire HYA (Hazard, Young, Attea), and I would encourage anyone who can find the time, to take the opportunity to meet the members of this team. They are spending a lot of time listening to all the stakeholder voices before they create the leadership profile which they will present to us on Nov. 25. That profile ultimately is the ‘job description’ they will be using as they work to find our next superintendent. They have also created online input mechanisms which can be located via the district website. This is a unique opportunity for our school community, and I hope you will all let your voices be heard.

-Chris Marks, BSD School Board member


  1. I hope the board, the district and other staff will push for a "fresh" and "new" person to BSD. NOT another retired rehire!!!

    We need some innovative, new ideas and an objective perspective. Somebody who will critically analyze the assessment driven curriculum and data based decision making that doesn't really value student learning or individual academic performance.

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  3. I hope that the chosen Superintendent will continue in the footsteps of Mike Riley to use data to inform decision making and push administrators, teachers and students to achieve at the highest levels. In addition, I hope that he will question assumptions and continue to fight to develop a consistent program that gives every student equal access to the best possible education.

  4. Is this the best forum for providing comments about what we want to see in a new Superintendent? I believe we need someone who communicates well and listens equally to teachers and parents and who learns the value of and supports all the programs in the district - Spanish Immersion, International School, PRISM and Enrichment. We need someone who will allow parent input on issues that we care about (Math curriculum, leveling of math education (adjusting the curriculum and teaching to accomodate different abilities) class sizes, etc) and who values the education and experience of our teachers. Having lived through a teacher strike, I'd like to continue to allow teachers flexibility in teaching to our overall grade-level goals, but I'd also like to see teacher accountability. Whether that means pay for performance or trying something creative (such as that being tried in the District of Columbia to allow teachers to opt out of union membership and therefore guaranteed tenure by giving them an incentive with a substantial pay raise). I support increased teacher pay, but for the best teachers. The new superintendent also needs to address the great dissatisfaction with No Child Left Behind and the WASL, by working with the new State Superintendent of Education, and working to lesson the number of tests taken, stop teaching to a test and wasting valuable class time,and finding a test that shows where our kids stand with kids across the U.S. (and ideally the world) - such as the ITBS, rather than the very flawed WASL. The previous Superintendent created an environment of fear amongst teachers and principals about curriculum flexibility and this manifested itself in a lack of willingness to try to meet kids needs at all levels - that is, adjust the curriculum to keep all kids challenged. It created an environment where principals were rewarded not for their creativity or willingness to listen and adjust to parental concerns, but rather for laying down the rules and not rocking the boat. We need to be more flexible and creative as a District, and that needs to be supported and encouraged from the top. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on this very important Superintendent search.

  5. Good Morning Anonymous,
    Your thoughtful comments posted here may stimulate a blog-conversation, which is the intention of this device, but I would hope that you have also contributed your thoughts officially to the HYA search team via the format on the district website.

  6. Dear Anonymous:
    Great insights and truths in your post. I am curious, how does the District of Columbia determine best teachers? I wonder if merit pay works if the class demands of diversity affect performance of the teacher? How this is factored in? I would like to learn more. Here is a link to the formal response in case you want to copy and paste your insightful remarks: