I was listening to a local radio talk show this morning. A candidate for a school board seat was on the show and the question came from the host. Do you support an appointed or elected superintendent? There was a long silence, obviously a question the candidate had given little thought to, the candidate redeemed themselves well in stating that not being on the school board, they would like the benefit of seeing the pros and cons.
I have in another life publicly taken a position on this issue. I have seen both sides. I will not share one point of view over another. As a citizen journalist via a weblog, I simply will lay out what I have seen, heard and experienced.
With an Appointed Superintendent
They spend their time collecting every piece of news written about them. They keep it in a portfolio and feel that they must have a response to explain any and all news items.
They spend their time networking at state and national meetings and gatherings so as to be aware of possible job openings and opportunities.
When they are pursuing jobs they spend time away from the day to day operation of the school district in pursuing these other job opportunities. ie. Pedro Garcia How much time did it take away from his duties with a California school district while making several trips to Nashville, TN in pursuing that job?
Once a Superintendent gets to a 2 year contract from a 4 year contract they begin to look exclusively for a job with a 4 year contract.
With an Elected Superintendent
They spend time campaigning and raising money, during the time campaigning and raising money it is time spent within the community.
They are equal team members with an elected school board, working as a group and have a mandate to accomplish the task at hand. An appointed superintendent is often the "bad guy" that is told by his employers "go out and do this or that to the funding body" because they don't want to use the political capital to do it but they can send their "employee" out to do the bad hits. This is a trait of coward board members.
An elected superintendent is a received by the community as one of them.
An elected superintendent is concerned with the total communities thoughts and interest, while an appointed superintendent can often be concerned about the communities thoughts and interest of the districts of school board members that support the superintendent.