School Superintendent search process
Hoboken strikes again. Apparently the fair and legitimate search process for selecting the new Superintendent of Hoboken Schools was just the opposite.
Here’s a letter from a Trustee:
“I need to start off by saying I’m sorry. I personally apologize to every parent and concerned citizen who asked me if the Superintendent search process that the board had approved was going to be legitimate. To each I said the same thing: the board was committed to an open and fair process, and had proven it when we hired the NJ School Boards Association to help guide us in this search.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
All illusions of fairness and openness were dispelled at tonight’s Boards Special Session. Board President Jimmy Farina began by introducing outgoing Superintendent Gagliardi who came prepared with pretty folders for each board member. They had our names on the cover and a “transition timetable” inside; Gagliardi was offering to step aside as of March 1, 2007 – becoming assistant superintendent of schools for four months at his same salary – so that the board can hire a new superintendent as of March 1, to “guarantee a smooth transition.”
This is a very reasonable offer from Gagliardi, and would have deserved very serious consideration had it been made last summer. Arriving as it did in mid-December however, it presented a real risk of derailing a very orderly process that had been on track since the Board adopted it in June. A responsible Board would have considered the offer VERY carefully before junking the reasonable, timely, open and transparent process already underway. But not THIS Board.
President Farina – who admitted to knowing of the proposal for weeks – recommended that the board accept Gagliardi’s proposal immediately, without even taking a break for us to read the six page report. All four lame duck board members – Farina, Burns, Porata, and Santana-Alicea – whose terms end in April, spoke strongly for the measure. Farina, in his remarks went so far as to admit the real reason for the change – unless the process was cut-short, an election might come, he (and the other lame ducks) might lose, and “new Board Members” might be chosen by the public to make this crucial choice.
Not surprisingly, the Board supported this last-minute plan to hold on to control of the schools, rather than risking a referendum by the voters in April. So the excellent process we had started had to go.
Cathie Sousa, our NJSBA rep tried desperately to maintain some legitimacy. When Farina demanded we advertise for our Superintendent over Christmas and New Years she stood her ground. “You’d only be wasting your money” she maintained. After some griping Farina relented and agreed to advertise on January 7 and 14.
He then left the meeting to make a phone call in the stairwell. I suppose he was calling to say “mission accomplished”, to whom I don’t know. He didn’t stay around long enough to contribute much to the draft of the advertisement. I suppose it really doesn’t matter what the ad says, his disappearance says it all.
His disappearance, and the new timetable. Applications are due February 2. The new person is scheduled to start on March 1. Even if we conduct all our interviews and reference checks in two weeks this doesn’t leave the successful applicant even two weeks to give notice to his or her current employer. By state law, educators are required to give 60 days notice to the districts they are leaving.
So who, really, are going to be eligible for the most important job in the Hoboken public schools? The unemployed, who have no employer to notify, and those already in the district.
I have already apologized to the public for encouraging them to expect a real consideration of all potential candidates. But the people who really need to apologize to the public, and i don’t expect they will, are the eight board members who broke the promise of a fair process they made in June. They are the ones who deprived the children and the public of a chance to find the BEST person for the job.
If you are as disgusted with their tricks as I am, please get involved, stay involved and be sure to make your voice heard on April 17th.”
The Hoboken Board of Education is beginning the process of selecting a new Superintendent of Schools.
What qualities are most important to you in a Superintendent?
What issues should be foremost on any new Superintendents agenda?
What kind of experience should the new Superintendent have?
Please come to the Forum and share your ideas and suggestions!
Wednesday, Sept. 27 @ 7pm – Wallace School