Thursday, June 14, 2001

Adamowski seen as hot commodity


'Premier administrator' finalist for Nashville job

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Public Schools board of education members say they would be sorry to lose Superintendent Steven Adamowski to another school district, but they understand why he's in demand.

        “I think his reputation here as a leader, a visionary, an effective communicator and a superintendent who has seen student achievement improve makes Superintendent Adamowski attractive to other districts,” said Board Member Harriet Russell.

        Dr. Adamowski, who has headed the 42,600-student district for three years, is scheduled to arrive in Nashville today as one of four finalists being considered for Nashville schools' top job.

Adamowski
Adamowski
        Nashville's Director of Schools Bill Wise is retiring June 30.

        Dr. Adamowski said Wednesday he did not apply for the position. He said he's been contacted about six times by national superintendent search firms in the past year for other opportunities and has declined to participate.

        In this case, he was contacted by Dr. E. Gordon Gee, head of Nashville schools' 23-person superintendent search advisory committee and chancellor of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Adamowski said he felt compelled to accept the invitation.

        Dr. Gee, former president of Ohio State University, called Dr. Adamowski one of the “premier educational administrators” in the country.

        He's also emerging here as a liaison to the business community, helping to build a well-educated and well-trained work force, which business leaders say is crucial for Cincinnati to prosper.

        Wednesday, Dr. Adamowski announced details of an unprecedented partnership with Cincinnati Bell to turn the West End's Taft High School into an information technology institute starting this fall. Students will have opportunities for internships, certifications in information technology and more.

        Bell president and chief operating officer Jack Cassidy said the company was spurred to create the partnership based on the drive and determination of Dr. Adamowski and new Taft Principal Anthony Smith.

        Board members cite other dynamic changes he's made and overseen, including:

        • In November, he saw the district score its largest levy win in 30 years.

        • He has been at the helm of an effort to restructure the district's five neighborhood high schools, including Taft High, by the 2002-2003 school year to improve student achievement and reduce a district-wide high school dropout rate of 49 percent.

        • He is overseeing the implementation of a comprehensive teacher evaluation and compensation system.

        Nashville's board of education, a district of 70,000 students, 130 schools and about 8,500 employees, has budgeted $180,000 for the new director of schools' salary. Dr. Adamowski makes $136,200 here. He oversees more than 6,500 staff members and 75 schools.

        The four candidates are scheduled to arrive in Nashville today, dine with board of education members Friday evening and engage in formal interviews Saturday.

        The other finalists:

        • Pedro E. Garcia, superintendent of the 40,000-student Corona-Norco, Calif., school district near Los Angeles.

        • Carol Johnson, superintendent of the 50,000-student Minneapolis school district.

        • William L. McKinney, director of one of 20 Education Service Centers for the state of Texas. He supervises professional training and other services for 54 school districts.

        Nashville schools spokesman Craig Owensby said it is not known when a selection will be made.

       



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