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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Our Next Superintendent, Part I

Looking Ahead

It is time for us to begin to think about who we want as our next superintendent. Something we need to consider, especially in the light of our recent troubles, is whether or not we should find "one of our own" to take the job. The last two superintendents have been "outsiders" brought in to give us a new perspective. Dr. Moore brought in many people my colleagues termed "the Texas Mafia." To many of us, it seemed as though many consulting contracts and high, well-paying positions in the districts went to people previously associated with Dr. Moore. Perhaps this was just our perception, but, as in politics, perception is often reality in schools.

Dr. Porter did not last long, less than a year. However, many of his problems came about because he was unaware of district practice and policy. Perhaps he was cupable for his lack of knowledge, but he seemed to walk into a mine field from the moment he came here.

Before these two, we had William Weitzel who was from Oklahoma, but did not have a background in education. His problems seemed to stem from his attempt to apply a "business model" to schools, the dream of many outside the school system, but a very poor model in the real world of a democratic school system. He became frustrated when teacher and administrators did not respond like business employees and subordinates, and students could not be produced like canned fruit.

So perhaps we should consider the possiblity that the next superintendent of the OKCPS District needs to be someone familiar with the local territory and familiar how educational institutions work.

In future, posts, I will be examining the problems of inside promotion, the needs of the district, and anything else I think I want to write about.

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