Thursday, October 10, 2002

New schools chief stresses teamwork

Frailey eager to work with teachers, parents, board

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati's new schools chief said Wednesday that teamwork is critical to raising student achievement and passing an unprecedented bond issue next month for school construction.

He added that he's “extremely pumped” at the idea of working with parents, community members, teachers and the board of education.

[photo] Alton Frailey gives a state of the schools address Wednesday
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
In his first state of the schools address Wednesday — and in a separate meeting with the teachers union president Tuesday — incoming Superintendent Alton Frailey underscored the importance of working with the union.

That would be in stark contrast to the adversarial relationship his predecessor, Steven Adamowski, had with the union, particularly near the end of his four-year term.

“An organization at war with itself can never be very effective on the battlefield of business,” Mr. Frailey said before a crowd of about 400 business leaders, educators and community members at Xavier University's Cintas Center.

Mr. Frailey, assistant superintendent from a suburban Houston, Texas, school district, officially begins his new job in early November as head of this 42,000-student district. He replaces Mr. Adamowski, who left in August to take a teaching position at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Collaboration was a big part of Mr. Frailey's message Wednesday.

“We have a great deal of work to do and we must be very, very serious about it,” he said. “It's not enough to say we're doing the best we can. We must succeed in doing whatever is necessary.”

Mr. Frailey said the community can help create an excellent urban school district by dreaming big, focusing its efforts and by putting the interests of children first.

He outlined seven goals for his first six months:

Implementing a school construction project after what he said will be the successful $480 million bond issue, which is on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Forming a loyal, efficient and effective support team.

Communicating what students must do to succeed in the state accountability system and in the eyes of the community.

Providing what schools need to succeed academically.

Reaching a contract with the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers and other associations.

Strengthening partnerships with parents and the community.

Helping to create a healthy organizational culture to meet these goals.

His message resonated with the audience.

“The teachers are real optimistic that the focus is on education and student achievement, as well as working with the teachers and all constituent groups for a common purpose,” said Sue Taylor, teachers union president. “He's reaching out to everybody.”

Cincinnati City Councilman David Crowley, chairman of a council subcommittee that works with the school board, said he was impressed that the new superintendent outlined seven goals in his first major address.

“That was gutsy to do that right from the beginning,” Mr. Crowley said. “We have a sense of where he's going and we can hold him accountable.”

Joe Porter, principal of Lafayette Bloom Back on Track Accelerated Middle School, said he would relay to his staff Mr. Frailey's goals and vision for the district.

“What I really liked is when he said "Whatever it takes for the kids.' I agree with that.”


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