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School board to go with secret search for superintendent

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Here's a recap of today's Wake County superintendent search committee meeting.

The committee agreed to keep the list of applicants confidential until they come up with a list of finalists. The committee also allowed the search firm of Heidrick & Struggles to begin advertising for the position with a Sept. 1 application deadline.

The ad, which will have a preliminary job description, will go out before public and private meetings are held with groups about what characteristics are desired in the next superintendent. Among the groups getting a private meeting with Heidrick is the Civitas Institute, the conservative group recently named a provider of board training by the board majority.

Also getting private meetings will be Wake NCAE, the Wake County division of principals, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the leadership of the local chambers, the Wake County mayors, the leadership of the county commissioners, the Wake Education Partnership, high school student council presidents, support staff advisory group, teacher advisory group and the leadership of the board advisory councils.

Initially, the Wake County PTA Council wasn't on the list. But Diana Bader, a past president of the group and a critic of the board majority, urged from the audience that the PTA Council be added.

Committee chairwoman Debra Goldman said she thought that the PTAs would be represented by the BAC members because they're also supposed to be on their school's PTA. The committee agreed to add the PTA Council to the meeting list.

Commitee member Carolyn Morrison unsuccessfully suggested adding the Great Schools in Wake Coalition to the list of groups getting a private meeting. But Goldman objected, calling them a PAC.

(Great Schools in Wake is a 501(c)3 non=profit and not a political action committee.)

"If we open up to every niche group, we’ll have to keep them (Heidrick) here for two weeks," Goldman said.

Goldman said the GSIW can attend the public meeting that will be held to provide input to Heidrick.

On the issue of confidentiality, board members agreed with Heidrick that making the names public in the initial phases of the search could discourage people from applying. The representative from Heidrick said that the list of finalists could be just one person depending on the pool.




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It was hearing this speaker

It was hearing this speaker that JT changed from strict neighborhood schools to community based, or "controlled choice". Info from my neighbor, who is a member.  

Did JT say this?  I honestly don't think this is true.  I'm sure that Kahlenberg and the people at GSIW would like to think so, but I'm skeptical.  It's not surprising to me at all that JT was in attendance at their forum.  He's known for attending meetings given by people of all kinds of viewpoints..

I doubt it is true but it

I doubt it is true but it doesn't hurt for GSIW to believe that Tedesco is listening to them.

I hope this isn't true.

Richard Kahlenberg, Century Foundation, is the social engineer that McNeal/Burns/Dulaney/Massengill, WEP etc. all endorsed.  His policies/mindset/ideas drove much of what has been developed assignment-wise in WCPSS.  I hope to high heaven that John Tedesco doesn't fall in line with Kahlenberg's thinking or we will be no further along the road to success and will just repeat more of the same work the last 10 years produced.  Kahlenberg cites a system (I think in CT) that has about 7,000 students that uses the controlled-choice model.  I'd be leary of trying to scale that up to 140,000 students.  There are many non-Kahlenberg fans in Wake so I hope JT does his homework before going too far with another idea from him.

You dont have to believe me but -

I was sitting in the room when he said it to a group of parents he was presenting his student assignment model to a few months ago. I found it interesting and a complete 180 from what people expected to hear as well.   I guess we'll find out once his committee is through.

Interesting info.  Thanks

Interesting info.  Thanks for sharing.

Just to make sure I

Just to make sure I understand this:

Civitas, a political organization which openly advocates for competitors of the public schools, gets a private audience to suggest what kind of superintendent they want for the public schools.

GSIW, a nonprofit which advocates in favor of public schools, does not get a public or a private audience because a board member is under an inaccurate assumption about what they are, and presumably after correction will not change her mind either.

The taxpayers are paying $82,500 plus expenses, which represented the highest bid on offer, for a secret candidate search.  Tedesco admitted that the low bidder had a great reputation, but explained that we couldn't go with them because "all their experience is in education."  Experience or credentials in education are not considered a requirement to head up the largest school system in the state of North Carolina.

The search will remain secret until there is a list of finalists.  The $82,500 folks have said that the list of finalists could be just one person. 

These people should not be in charge of a lemonade stand.  If they, against all odds, succeed in finding someone willing to work for them, it will not be anyone worth having for the job.  Anyone with a chance of being reasonably competent at the job would run like Forrest away from these guys.


IMO...GSIW has never advocated for public schools until after this election.   They do not want to hear ideas and opinions outside their own and do not need to be involved in this process.  I would say the same thing about other fringe groups! 

I believe Great Schools in

I believe Great Schools in Wake was established after the Fall elections -- or perhaps because of them.

XMarks is right

GSiW's origin comes from citizens who spoke as individuals at board meetings. Most did not know each other beforehand. Their leadership and membership includes scientists, doctorates, teachers, school volunteers, magnet parents, business owners, rim parents, ministers,year round parents, retired BOE and BOC. They live in every part of the county, not just Raleigh. Not a single minded group by any stretch. Even Tedesco attended their forum a few months back at McKimmon Center to hear Richard Kallenberg. (sp?). It was hearing this speaker that JT changed from strict neighborhood schools to community based, or "controlled choice". Info from my neighbor, who is a member.  

proof positive...

...that the new BOE listens to both camps.

It was hearing this speaker that JT changed from strict neighborhood schools to community based, or "controlled choice".

GSIW should be congratulated for being able to influence the outcome of the new model. Perhaps the WEP, NAACP and CCCAC can take lessons from GSIW.

LOL That is a pretty amusing

LOL That is a pretty amusing analysis.

No, they just changed their

No, they just changed their name after the election. Before the election, they called themselves "Friends of Diversity."

Woodstock is wrong


I believe that you are

I believe that you are correct.  I think that it is a subset group of WakeUp, Wake County that spun off as an individual group last year.

Ironically, I could be very much behind WakeUp, Wake County for their positions on smart growth if it weren't for their little side foray into school politics (and this was a part of their agenda even before the school board elections.)  I think that the uncontrolled growth that is the dream of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce could very well destroy the way of life that we enjoy here in Wake County.  While we can build more roads, and eventually more schools, we can't build a greater water supply and adequate natural area.

I could get behind Wake Up

I could get behind Wake Up Wake County too -- if they were really about smart growth.  They're not.  Wake Up's vision of our future includes ultra-dense development and a fortune spent on mass transit rail and bus.  If I wanted that I could get it right now in D.C. 

Wake Up was also a strong advocate for the real estate transfer tax, which forces all of us to pay for infrastructure when we sell our homes.  I'd much rather see a county-wide impact fee on new development to pay for infrastructure and schools.

I don't have a problem with excluding GSIW, but please

help me understand the inclusion of Civitas.

They at least provide some

They at least provide some sort of balance to the inclusion of Wake Education Partnership.

Is that your final answer?

I was hoping for something a little bit more specific.

"Great Schools in Wake"

"Great Schools in Wake" never advocated for public schools before?  They sure picked a silly name, then. 

You Can Pick Any Name You Want..The Results Are The Same....

They can be called 'Schools are Us' for all I care.  They WON'T allow both sides of the issues to ever be presented.  I have personally emailed Yveonne on multiple occasions asking just that question. WOW...she didn't repond.  Am I surprised...NO.  It's all about about one sided thinking and ignoring the problems of the past. 


How have they advocated for schools previously? 

And, yes, it is a silly name. I prefer Great Students.

GWIS didn't even exist until

GWIS didn't even exist until after the last election.  Their agenda is very focused, to return WCPSS to a forced-busing policy.  That doesn't make them an advocate for public schools, it makes them an advocate for their specific agenda.

GSiW's narrow "forced busing" agenda - from their website

 Wake County citizens expect and deserve schools that:

1. Produce Great Students. Our community needs the Board of Education to focus its attention on, and make decisions for, the success and achievement of all students to be competitive in both the global and local workforce.

2. Support Skilled Educators. We value our teachers and staff and believe that the Board of Education must assure opportunities for professional development and good working conditions. Every school must be a place where teachers want to teach and students learn.

3. Support Diversity. Our community expects schools and curriculum that reflect a diverse world-providing exposure for students to many races, languages, arts, cultures, economic levels and ideas.

4. Use Resources Efficiently. Our community expects the school system to wisely make the most of our limited resources. We support fair growth funding at a level equal to or greater than the national average per student.

5. Provide Student Stability. To the extent that growth in our community permits, we believe that student re-assignments should be minimized, and that calendar continuity should be available for all families.

6. Foster Partnerships. We value a school system that fosters partnerships between teachers, administrators, parents, businesses and the community as a whole, with communication and open dialogue as a part of every strategic change.

7. Model Educational Excellence. Every school must be a place where teachers want to teach and students learn. As a key component of our community's quality of life, our community expects our schools to achieve a global reputation for excellence.


Can you give any examples of steps they've taken on items 1,2 or 4-7, or any indication tht they've focused on any aspect of diversity apart from race & economic levels?  The recent budget request of the commissioners was a great chance to seek additional funding (#4).  Did they do so? 

I have no idea

I have no idea, Bob.  Did the BOE? I seem to recall years of funding fights in the past between the BOC and the BOE.  I guess this being a recession, everyone figured they were lucky to get what they asked for.

Here is the rest of GSiW's statements from their website:

Vision:  believe that all children in Wake County, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or residence, should receive the highest quality education possible.


Mission: Our mission is to provide accurate information to educate the public about policy initiatives that would impact the quality of education, to foster well-informed discussions about critical education issues, and to advocate for policies that improve public education in Wake County.

All I know about GSiW is what I got from their website and what my neighbor told me. I just figure if people are wondering what GSiW is all about, its easy to find with Google.

They formed after the

They formed after the election because we have previously had great schools.  Now, it looks like we're moving to some great schools, some good schools, and some "oh no" schools (hint:  They'll be in the "Promise Zone".)  Just because you don't agree with uniformly good schools doesn't mean they aren't interested in advocating for all children or they aren't a nonprofit deserving of input in the schools.  They are parents, educators, and voters, and unlike Civitas they have many members and many sources of funding, none of whom are named "Pope".

Right, these are the people

Right, these are the people who did nothing for the past several years as school performance degraded (ie. it's ok to fail, as long as we fail in a diverse environment).  And if you believe that this group would have ever formed if there was still a majority on the board in favor of forced busing, you're kidding yourself.

FWIW, I don't think Civitas should have been on the list either.  But presenting GWIS as anything other than a group dedicated to restoring forced busing is disingenuous.  I personally don't believe GWIS, Meeker, Barber, WakeUp and the rest have ANY credibility as advocates for education because they all sat idly by while our schools went downhill.

Do You Get Out Much...

They formed after the election because we previously had great schools.

Really.  You mean all the turmoil of the last few years with WCPSS is the sign of a great school system?   Did you ever attend a community engagement meeting?  Do you REALLY know what some schools in this county are facing?  Do we have good things about WCPSS...sure we do.  The top of the list for me is the teachers!  Do we have issues...we sure do.  Lots of them!

You must be reading from the

You must be reading from the WC sales brochure@great schools.

So Goldman STILL doesn't

So Goldman STILL doesn't understand the difference between a 501(c)3 and a PAC?? 

And we've got Prickett not knowing where the "sound basic education" comes from....

Hey Civitas, time for some training!!!!

Are they really?

I suspect that GSIW has filed for a 501(c)(3) exemption, but has it been granted?  It typically takes a long time for the IRS to grant 501(c)(3) status, and I don't think GSIW has been around long enough.

Which reminds me to look into whether I can suggest to the IRS that they should not be granted the exemption.

I've heard that GSIW is a

I've heard GSIW described as a "project" (whatever that means) of Wake Up Wake. So perhaps they are no longer a separate organization.

I don't know what you

I don't know what you mean?  The problem is that Debra Goldman didn't know the difference - I don't think they've been granted the exemption yet but that doesn't change my point. 

Sure it does...

The fact that they claim to be a 501(c)(3) doesn't mean that they aren't actually the functional equivalent of a PAC.

The more I look at it, I'm not even convinced that they've filed to be a 501(c)(3) because (at least according to the Secretary of State's website), they don't officially exist. 

My point is that Debra

My point is that Debra Goldman did not even recognize the issue you keep bringing up. 

How is what GSIW does any different than many of the other parent groups?  Why would you single them out as PAC's but not the others??

Doesn't matter

The official status of GSIW is unimportant.  Whether they technically qualify as a PAC is irrelevant -- GSIW has been extremely political, and I agree with Goldman that it doesn't belong.  They're also not asking the John Locke Foundation to give input, likely for the same reason. 

There are more than enough supporters of the past diversity policy here.  I don't believe that GSIW would add anything and might end up trying to gum up the works just out of spite.

my main point stands and I

my main point stands and I am not sure I understand why you would defend her ignorance. 

Say you agree with the sentiment but she has her facts wrong - unless Hui is misleading us in his article. 

I don't know if they are appropriate to be there or not - I personally don't think Civitas should be there (ridiculous) but whatever.

carson79 - there are official titles and then there is reality

GSIW is as much of a 501c as WEP - i.e. in name only. Here is what they do - they get a dozen people together (in the name of some effort, such as the 21st century schools initiative) in a board room for 2 hours multiple times over several months to vet candidates for an election. It is not public, they don't put it on their website. It is technically not legal, but they do it. I was at 2 of these meetings before the BOE elections. They are politically motivated, therefore they function as a PAC. So you are correct, Ms Goldman called them a PAC when they are listed as a 501c. But everyone in Wake Ed politics knows the truth - perhaps it was just a Freudian slip.

I honestly hate the way these guys lie to the public, my feeling is that if you can't tell the truth then keep quiet. 


SNordone, can you expand on the two illegal meetings you attended? Were they officially called Great Schools in Wake meetings? What was your role there? Just curious - I had no idea you were associated with GSiW.

Thanks, for telling it the

Thanks, for telling it the way it is.


I must not recognize your main point -- I thought you were criticizing Goldman for not recognizing that GSIW is a 501(c)(3) (which it apparently isn't) and not a PAC (which it appears to be acting like)?

But, ok, I agree with her sentiment, even if she got the specifics wrong. 

I'm not really familiar enough with Civitas to speak to whether they should be there or not.  In the end, though, I don't think it really matters; the purpose of this is to give H&S a better understanding of the district.  As long as a variety of viewpoints are included, I think they'll get that.

what is best for the children?

In all this arguing I still do not see reference to what is best for the children/students, or how the county will meet the needs of the students. I'm thankful every day that my children are not enrolled in the Wake County School system.

Since Heidrick is premium

Since Heidrick is premium priced I would like for more than one finalist to be shortlisted and identified.


Selected perhaps, but identified?  If you think about it, most people who would be candidates would want their interest in the position to be secret, since they all presumably have high-level jobs.  Making them public would mean that out of, say,  three finalists, at least two would be made public and not given the job.

In my view, if we want the best candidates, then the board should take H&S' advice about making those candidates public.  (Of course, we're a long way from that.)

I understand but it doesn't

I understand but it doesn't look good for the BOE majority if at the end of a secret process a non-educator is anointed and the public informed that nobody else measured up.


"The committee agreed to keep the list of applicants confidential until they come up with a list of finalists"

Code for, the N&O won't be able to do character assassinations on them before they get hired.


finalist doe not equal hired

just for clarification.

Actual experience and references not needed

The Board agreed that professional experience and references will not be needed.  Whoever is selected will automatically be despised, vilified and accused of assorted crimes against nature by the PFAHWHTENB ..... "People From Around Here Who Hate The Evil New Board".

The board also asked the search firm not to pursue anyone with the surnames Pope or Luddy or whose names end in a vowel.  Candidates with well thought thru death wishes and extreme persecution complexes will be given preference.

Anyone who actually wants the job will be considered mentally unfit.

I'm having a hard time

I'm having a hard time seeing why the Civitas Institute is being given a meeting with Heidrick.  I didn't watch the entire meeting, so if anyone could point out why this group is being given a meeting I would greatly appreciate it.

The Heidirick rep cited how

The Heidirick rep cited how Civitas is working with the school system.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.