Saturday, August 24, 2002

Resumes arrive for CPS post

By Jennifer Mrozowski,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After two months, the first six applications for the Cincinnati Public Schools superintendency came into district offices Friday.

        They represent administrators and executives with a range of experience who weren't shy about having their names made public. More applications are expected.

        The applicants include a principal in a charter school in St. Louis; a former labor negotiator and current CEO of a technology solutions and software engineering firm in Orlando, Fla.; the interim superintendent from a 13,000-student school district in New Jersey; the superintendent for the largest school district in Delaware made up of 20,200 students; a Sylvania, Ohio, executive and former president of a real estate company; and the Plymouth, Minn.-based founder and CEO of Virtual School Executive Inc., a Web-based executive coaching process.

        Now, district officials are wrestling with how to consider other applicants who don't want their information made public. Some who have inquired about the job reportedly said they don't want it known they're considering Cincinnati until they're offered a contract.

        Members of the press filed Open Records Act requests to have the applicants' risumis, which are public documents, made public shortly after former Superintendent Steven Adamowski announced in June he was leaving the 42,000-student district, effective Aug. 19.

        The school board said at the time they planned a speedy process to find a replacement. They hired a Milwaukee-based search firm, Proact Search Inc., to assist them. Some board members have said they want to conduct a private search and inform the public once a superintendent has been selected.

        Board member John Gilligan said they want to satisfy the law and hand over the public documents but also don't want to discourage the best candidates from applying.

        “Working out how we move from here in this effort to satisfy two irreconcilable objectives is something that's still in the wind,” he said.

        Superintendent candidates have been made public in some other local districts. In Fairfield Schools in 2000, three finalists were publicized. Also in 2000, the Monroe Board of Education publicized the names of 11 candidates being considered.

        Cincinnati schools Friday also released a document on community input from telephone interviews the search firm recently conducted with 114 community members. The telephone interviews concerned the characteristics being sought for a superintendent.

        The board submitted a list of about 150 people to contact regarding the characteristics. That list of names has been destroyed and would have to be reconstructed by asking board members for the names again, said Jan Leslie, spokeswoman for Cincinnati Public Schools.

        Some people contacted include John Pepper, former chairman of Procter & Gamble; William Mallory Sr., former state representative; and Edith Thrower, chairwoman of the Cincinnati NAACP's education committee.

        According to a letter sent to Board President Rick Williams in July, Ms. Thrower said her committee suggested the superintendent selection be more open.

        “They select the people who they want to hear from,” Ms. Thrower said. “That's ridiculous. The public becomes very disenfranchised with the district when they do things like this.”

        She suggested the district hold two forums to receive input. The NAACP education committee would be willing to facilitate those, she said.

        She has not heard a response, she said. Mr. Williams could not be reached.


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