Down to two Superintendent candidates

Received Thursday via e-mail:

New Hope, Minn. (April 1, 2009) – Dr. Aldo Sicoli and Carlton Jenkins have been named finalists for the superintendent position in Robbinsdale Area Schools. The Robbinsdale Area School Board interviewed four candidates on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1. In a meeting after the last interview Tuesday the board chose Sicoli, Assistant Superintendent of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191; and Jenkins, Executive Director of Secondary Schools for the School District of Beloit (Wis.) to be interviewed next week.

Members of the community are invited to meet Jenkins from 5 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 and Sicoli from 5 – 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 at the Education Service Center boardroom, 4148 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope. Each finalist will spend a day touring the school district, meeting with staff members and the community, and interviewing with the school board.

The school board interviews are open to the public, though no public comment is allowed. The board will meet following Thursday’s interview, and is expected to select a new superintendent that evening.

We’re pleased that RSD had 27 applicants for the position… but not so much when the finalists are not locals familiar with our district, business-savvy, and willing to shake up failed policies. It looks like more of the same. Speed Gibson has similar comments:

With all due respect to the four candidates, it just seems to me that there should more of them. The job of Superintendent is probably more difficult than we know, but it also pays accordingly. The benefits are stellar by any comparison when you include severance. Let’s break it down.

To lure a competent incumbent Superintendent is going to be difficult. You may find a few wanting a larger challenge. You may find cases where they want to relocate for climate or family reasons. There will be hostile work environments (St. Paul, e.g.?). But I suspect these are exceptions, that most of the applicants are seeking a promotion, like our two finalists.

That said, where are they, all those Assistant Superintendents and Executive Directors out there? Anoka-Hennepin couldn’t find very many either, it would seem. Maybe our requirements are too high. Maybe politics gets in the way, as in unpublished rules about race, party affliation, and gender. Or, maybe licensure is keeping most who could do this job completely out of the running.

If the qualifications above are what keeps the numbers low, that means we aren’t going to see much hope and change in the public school system. We’ll meet them and find out more next week.

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