Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Adamowski's resignation letter


        The text of Steven Adamowski's resignation letter.

        Having recently completed my thirtieth year in K-12 education, I would like to retire from the Superintendency to pursue research and teaching interests in higher education.

        For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to serve on the National Advisory Board for the Wallace/Reader's Digest Funds, Leaders Count initiative. This experience has sharpened my understanding of the leadership crisis in public education in terms of the supply of educational leaders, the quality of their preparation and the conditions for leadership that influence their effectiveness. I've reached the conclusion that I could do the greatest good in the final phase of my career by helping to prepare the next generation of principals and superintendents.

        From my perspective, this is a natural point in time for our district to make a transition in leadership. Most of the goals that were central to my work and that of our current management team over the past several years have been accomplished: the district is out of Academic Emergency; it is well managed and has regained strong financial footing; decentralization has placed authority and accountability in the hands of principals, teachers and parents in schools that are now far less dependent on district governance; our successful efforts to redesign low performing elementary and restructure low performing high schools have demonstrated the possibility of raising the academic achievement of students, regardless of their family's income; a plan has finally been put in place to rebuild our aging, deteriorating school buildings. As the reforms necessary to achieve these outcomes have been implemented, CPS has earned the national recognition and respect needed to attract the best people. Finally, the Students First Strategic Plan that provided direction to my work expires next month. The next strategic plan, while building on the last, will require new ideas and different leadership capabilities. It would be most advantageous for the next superintendent to develop this plan with the Board and implement it at the outset.

        The University of Missouri has offered me a position on its graduate faculty in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The University has been generous in allowing me to teach in areas of greatest interest, e.g., systemic school reform, leadership for change and high school redesign. It has also offered to assist me in establishing a Research Center for Education Reform — something that has been an interest of mine for several years. I would like to begin my teaching duties in September, so I am submitting my resignation to be effective on a mutually agreeable date in August. I can be flexible with the date depending on the needs of the Board and the timeline you establish for transition.

        I wish to acknowledge the thousands of Cincinnatians who have been involved in large and small ways in making our schools better during the past four years. They have served as a source of encouragement and inspiration to me and I am grateful for their commitment, civic-mindedness, kindness and consideration. I am most thankful for: the competency and dedication of our management team, school principals, teachers and support staff; the steadfast support of the Cincinnati Business Committee; the advocacy of groups like Cincinnatus, AMOS and our Special Education Workgroup; and partnerships with key organizations including the Mayerson Academy, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, KnowledgeWorks, CASE, Parents for Public Schools and the Urban League. I'm indebted to members of the Board of Education who have supported our reform agenda, sometimes at significant political risk. Some of the finest Board members I have worked with in twenty years in the superintendency served as Board officers during my term, including Lynwood Battle, Lynn Marmer, Rick Williams and Sally Warner.

        I can honestly say that I came to work every day in the past four years feeling grateful to be able to do important work. I've come to know that this is a great City, capable of change, whose best days are still ahead. I hope I was able to contribute a little to its future. Thank you for the privilege of being able to lead the Cincinnati City School District.

        Sincerely,
       Steven J. Adamowski, Ph.D.
       Superintendent of Schools

       



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