Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bungled CCSD Superintendent Search Puts Enemies on Same Side: Against

What new atrocity could the Charleston County School District perpetrate that would cause Joe Bowers, Dot Scott, and this writer to be unanimous in our rejection? It's known as the "superintendent search" but should be called the "McGinley continuation."

Last week the CCSD Board of Trustees announced the selection of three candidates for the post: Acting Superintendent Michael Bobby, Superintendent of Academics Lisa Herring, and former Horry County superintendent Gerrita Postlewait. What's wrong with that?

Why do I surmise these were the names put forward by former superintendent Nancy McGinley?

First of all, selection of either Bobby or Herring provides a continuation of the McGinley era, one we do not fondly remember. The third selection, Postlewait, most likely the sacrificial lamb, is undoubtedly a McGinley crony well-known by every superintendent in South Carolina.

Far be it from me to insist that we fund a national search: these candidates do have connections to South Carolina. However, is this the best that South Carolina can do for one of the most highly paid superintendent positions in the state?

To be an effective superintendent, the person in charge needs to know what goes on in today's classroom. Despite claims to the contrary, the education of children is not a business proposition. We are not a factory producing widgets, nor are parents "customers." Michael Bobby has no academic qualifications as superintendent. He majored in math and (maybe) got a teaching certificate in Ohio at a college that remains unnamed. Before becoming a financial officer, he taught in high school almost thirty years ago. His academic credentials do not even qualify him for financial chief. As I  said about the departure of former CFO Kennedy in 2007:

  • Does he hold an MBA?
  • Is he an accountant?
  • Does he have any specialized financial training beyond undergraduate courses?

As for superintending education, can he appreciate how different the classroom is from thirty years ago? Does he have any academic background at all in eduction?

Lisa Herring has similar problems, although more relevant teaching experience. She clearly decided she would become a school counselor after teaching a few years. That's her area of expertise. What qualifies her for chief academic officer except she was in the right place at the right time? One would hope that last year's fiasco over her failure to recuse herself when her daughter was insulted by a student at the School of the Arts--and then imposing an unusually harsh punishment--was a learning experience. We don't know.

Finally, Gerrita Postlewait has made a political career of being superintendent. The edublob has fallen all over itself in congratulating one of its own. If she's ever been in the classroom, she's hiding it now. Horry County is upset that she left them with school board governance that many consider anti-democratic, not responsive to either teachers or parents. Wow, sounds like just what CCSD needs!

We all have differing reasons for saying that the triumvirate stinks. Will anyone own up to
creating this list?


Jim Isle said...

Very accurate assessment. Right on target. Nobody thinks this process has been handled properly by the county school board or its chairman, Cindy Coats. The South Carolina School Board Association has no business choosing a superintendent for a school board as appears to be the case here.

Anonymous said...

Ask the Board of Directors for Charleston Charter School for Math and Science for input. They seem to get it right on their selection of leaders. After all, they've had plenty of practice.