Looking For An Educational Leader

The job of superintendent for any large school system can’t be a very pleasant one. There are so many special interest groups pecking at them all the time that no matter how much is accomplished there’s always somebody bitching and moaning. I bring this up because the superintendent of the very large system I work for announced today that he’s retiring soon to take a job in the educational publishing industry (probably paying some pretty good money).

A change in top leadership for a big system is not unusual – this will be my fifth in two different large systems. It inevitably leads to the school board invoking a "nationwide search" for "the best person we can find for the kids". They will then convene several screening committees (parents, business, teachers, etc.) and sift through lots of names, eventually conducting some very public interviews.

Unfortunately, the person they choose will be much more a politician than an educator. That’s not intended to be a criticism, it’s just the reality of the job. The superintendent’s job these days is more about negotiating with all the different "stakeholders" in the community than it is about developing educational policy. That lack of focus on education at the top leadership of a school system is probably one of the big reason that public education has so many problems these days.

So, does anyone out there want to apply for the job?