Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Support the districtís new superintendent

    Our School District’s board of trustees has made a brilliant decision in hiring Dr. GwenCarol Holmes as our new superintendent. She is a high-energy, welcoming and warm person. Her engaging personality is backed by long experience and very solid professional qualifications. She has worked extensively in districts with large low-income and limited-English populations.
    In her presentation to the community last month, she emphasized the importance of “continuous improvement” as a process for assuring the most effective teachers in every classroom. This is not just a slogan; it is a recognized process of collaboration and teamwork in the schools, as teachers work together to discover and implement what works best in the classroom. It entails continuous incremental changes in teaching practices, based on shared experiences and data about results. Districts that have adopted this approach have made remarkable improvements in student outcomes. Holmes understands this, and plans to introduce the practices here.
    Our board of trustees conducted an exemplary process to arrive at their decision. It was inclusive, transparent and objective. It encouraged teacher, staff and community input to a greater extent than we have seen before. Even the professional headhunters were surprised at the board’s insistence on holding an open meeting for the interested public to meet and appraise the finalists. The board left that meeting with hundreds of comment forms from a very engaged audience. The community—including District teachers and staff—has been consulted. But the trustees made the final decision, as is proper. Our children will not be well served by further rehashing the past or second-guessing the board’s choice. This is our best chance for a fresh start. Let us now applaud our trustees for a job well done. Let us now show our support for our new superintendent.
Lyman Drake

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