Superintendent's Forum: Be Part of the High School Principal Selection

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You are invited to share your ideas about the qualifications that matter most for the Metuchen High School Principal.  What do you want the selection committee to consider? 

 

·                 Tuesday, September 15th

·                 7:30pm in the high school cafeteria

 

All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.  The next principal could be at the helm for 25 years, what do you want for our high school?

 

Citizen action groups are circulating a letter they ask you personalize and mail to the Board. In it, you are encouraged to ask for:

  1. Community and Board participation in the selection process
  2. The search be national in scope, seeking to bring out the best and broadest possible pool of candidates; and
  3. That certain criteria be adopted in choosing the principal. 

Here is the letter template they suggest:  mm_New Principal Letter_0909.doc

1 Comment

I read this article with great interest - and a few questions.

As always, I commend the Superintendent for hosting this forum, and the groups involved for pushing for a public dialogue.

However, I do have a question or two about the "New Principal Letter" template being circulated. To wit:

1) How are we defining "best"? Are we looking for a leader who is so gifted, of such a magnetic personality, that he or she is able to motivate TENURED teachers to go way above and beyond what they are REQUIRED to do to turn out students ready to take on the world? (And believe me, I know from my own child’s experiences, that a few of them are already at MHS, bless them.) In other words, though, are we looking for the type of principal who could be a star character in one of those clichéd films we've all seen of this genre?

2) Why are we focusing on leadership in mathematics and science? Albeit, the world desperately needs new generations of research scientists, mathematicians, doctors, etc. But it also needs the next generation of famous playwrights, Supreme Court Justices, world-class musicians, artists of breathtaking talent, Presidential biographers, those who will change the world for the better, and other stellar graduates of humanities programs. And it needs - quite simply - amazingly talented, passionate and gifted teachers of the future, those who may just happen to create the aforementioned geniuses mentioned above.

3) When we talk about "best," are we talking about a principal who will press the administration HARD for gifted teachers to motivate students? A principal who will staunchly and passionately advocate for the hiring of the very best teachers (regardless of whether they're recent education program graduates OR weathered master teachers)? Are we talking about a principal who will be thinking about a legacy program to replace those wonderful teachers we now have who, sadly, will one day leave or retire?

4) Why the need for a national search? Put another way, how do we know for certain that will lead to the best principal possible? How do we differentiate and distinguish the candidate from the role played by administration/superintendent, teachers, parents, or exceptionally gifted and motivated students? And what about wealthy districts that have the spend ability for gee-whiz technology, free afterschool one-on-one tutoring, or, or, or [insert name of "wouldn't it be nice" program here]? How do we calculate those factors into the decision?

5) Assuming there is a national search, how does the vetting process work? Do we send a cross-functional team (comprising administrators, teachers, parents, and students, etc.) to interview its counterparts in the candidate's district?

So yes, there are questions. But I do thank anyone who has bothered to take the time and effort to initiate this campaign. It's exhausting and often unrewarding work, so hats off to you! Keep up the great work, get plenty of rest, and don’t lose heart – ever.


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