The Wake County school board would make a statement if it chose a non-educator to become superintendent.
As noted in today's article, policy revisions recommended by the school board's policy committee would take advantage of changes adopted by the General Assembly in 2001 to allow non-educators to become superintendents. But few school districts in the state have taken advantage of the change.
Guilford County Superintendent Maurice Green was about the only non-educator to come to mind for people. Green was Charlotte-Mecklenburg's in-house lawyer and later deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent.
But educators are still the norm for superintendent.
The state's requirements are vastly different for educators and non-educators.
Educators must meet this state Board of Education requirement:
Must hold a North Carolina principal's certificate and superintendent's certificate issued under the authority of the State Board of Education. The principal's certificate must have an experience rating of P‑01 or higher. This requirement will assure that a candidate for superintendent has served as a principal or has had an equivalent administrative experience at a level which would enable the certificate holder to receive one year of experience on a principal's certificate. Equivalent administrative experience includes employment as a superintendent, associate superintendent, assistant superintendent of a school administrative unit, headmaster of a non‑public school with seven or more teachers, President or Vice President of institutions of higher education, dean or associate dean of a School of Education, President or Vice President of a community college or technical institute, and State level education administration with the State Department of Public Instruction at or above the Division Director's position,
The state requirement for non-educators is a lot shorter. State board policy says they "must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have five years leadership or managerial experience considered relevant by the employing local board of education."
Debra Goldman, chairwoman of the board's policy committee, said dropping the educator requirement would broaden the field of candidates that could be considered.
Russell Capps, president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, said hiring a businessman would recognize that the school system is the "largest business in Wake County." He said the board could have someone like interim Supt. Donna Hargen oversee the educational issues.
But school board member Carolyn Morrison said a non-educator would lack "credibility" with principals and teachers. She was a longtime Wake teacher and principal before she retired.
Tama Bouncer, the new president of Wake NCAE, questioned whether a businessman would understand Wake's educational needs.