Superintendent Search in Newtown

The residents of Newtown, Connecticut ought to be very concerned with the way the school district is conducting the hiring process for the new superintendent. First of all, just like the hiring of the past three superintendents, the current members of the board are the only ones who will be a part of the interviewing process. While this might not seem like such a big deal, it ought to raise red flags among those who have paid attention since the new board members were sworn in. Of the current members of the board, three of them have never served in public office before. Of these three, only one has any experience working as an educator. This means that nearly 1/3 of our board has zero experience in the schools beyond volunteering in the PTA. Do we want to put the future of our schools into the hands of inexperienced people who have are still learning the ins and outs of what it means to serve on the board?

Secondly, this board is a biased board. Anyone who has attended any of the public meetings can see this in the ways that they vote and have discussions. A biased board will be unable to make an unbiased decision by themselves. There need to be a system of checks and balances to ensure that the needs of our students and staff are highlighted rather than emphasizing political talking points.

One might argue that the current board is doing the right thing by hiring an outside consultant to help gather candidates for interviews, however no one is holding this board accountable. This means that they can listen to the advice of an outside consultant, but still interview and hire whichever candidate they choose.

Many members of the public have no faith that the current board will act with the community’s best interest in mind. This means that whoever is hired will immediately be looked at with suspicion. The BOE should add members of the community to the hiring process, asking people who have worked with our students and teachers and know what it takes to be in the trenches to be a part of the interview process. Afterall, don’t we want what is best for our children?