No recommendations for the superintendent’s post

Published 11:45 pm Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today the Selma City School Board will select an individual to lead the district.

Sadly, the numbers dwindled during the public interviews, leading us to believe that few people care who is selected.

Education is everyone’s business. Public education takes a sizable percentage of our tax dollars. Even those who don’t have children in the school system have money invested in public education.

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That’s why the decision of who will lead the local district means a great deal to the whole community.

This week, four candidates went through their paces. They were interviewed by the school board and the public, select students and staff.

Austin N. Obasohan has a doctorate from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He lives in Concord, N.C. His application information form shows his work history through assistant principal at South Caldwell High School.

However, the consultants for the firm said he is employed by the school district in Concord.

Actually, state records of the North Carolina Department of Education show in 2006-07, Obasohan as principal of a small school, called an opportunity school. The state’s records also show this alternative education school is a growth school in terms of North Carolina testing data.

Obasohan made his case for working in the school community by establishing goals and setting out directives in the district.

Les Bivens has had to take on some difficult tasks during his tenure at Limestone County. He has weathered lawsuits and parents who protested books in the library. He has served as a superintendent for eight years. His doctorate comes from Indiana University.

Verdell Lett-Dawson is a familiar face. Her area of specialty is curriculum. She has worked as interim superintendent here in Selma and knows the issues. She said she believes in shared governance in the school district, but maintains close control over staff and teachers at various school districts.

Annette Knox was superintendent at Camden, N.J. schools for nearly 5 1/2 years. She left that school district after a settlement over bonuses paid, about $17,000, and questions about the school board’s approval. She was not popular at first among the people in Camden, but reworked the school district, turning it from a mediocre one to one with planned programs for students’ abilities.

We cannot endorse any of these candidates wholeheartedly. We would urge the school board to delay its decision and study the backgrounds of these candidates closely and even look at others on the list of 14.