JCPS Board To Hire New Superintendent

by Rick Howlett on November 22, 2010

By Sheila Ash and Rick Howlett

The Jefferson County Board of Education will soon begin a search for a new superintendent after voting 5-2 Monday night not to renew the contract of Dr. Sheldon Berman.

Berman’s contract runs through the end of June.

Board Chairwoman Debbie Wesslund says the search process will begin at the board’s next regular meeting on December 13.

“The first thing we need to do is get together with the board and with some community input about what we’re looking for, setting goals, with some community input about setting goals and priorities so whoever applies knows what we expect of them. That’s really, really important,” she said.

Wesslund says she expects Berman to help with the transition to new leadership.

The vote to replace Berman came after a three-hour closed-door evaluation. Berman was not present for the open session vote. He later told the Courier-Journal that he was surprised and disappointed by the decision, but intends to finish his contract.

Berman had previously received positive reviews from the board, but he has come under fire this year from parents following transporation problems at the start of classes in August, and for the low performance of some schools.

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Attica Scott November 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

As a parent of students currently enrolled in JCPS, I find little to celebrate in the decision by the BOE not to renew Berman’s contract. The BOE held portions of his evaluation in a closed, secretive session was is Democracy inaction!!!

It seems to me that Berman meant well and had the best intentions and yet those words often follow failed attempts. When I met with him earlier in the spring he seemed open to new ideas and yet surrounded by people with stale, outdated ways of being and doing.

We should be concerned about the timing of this decision so soon after the elections and only months after the BOE had already evaluated Berman. And it is interesting timing that the news broke AFTER the elections about the additional low-performing schools in Jefferson County.

Let’s remember that Daeschner was Superintendent for 14 years; so, I’m not sure how we expected Berman to turn around 14 years of damage in less than 4 years. When he was hired, I felt like it made absolutely no sense to set him up for failure because he could not have possibly been prepared for a system of this size with the social issues that we have.

How will we move forward if we keep hiring someone new and then surrounding that person with stale support?

On another note, is it too soon to ask Crit Luallen to audit JCPS?

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