Reader praises interim superintendent

Published 5:36 pm Monday, August 25, 2008

Dear editor,

Dr. Verdell Lett Dawson, the interim superintendent of the Selma City Schools must surely feel elated and vindicated after receiving AYP data for Selma’s school system. all of the board members, administrative and support personnel, parents and particularly the front line soldiers (teachers) and students, should be exceptionally proud of their accomplishments.

When I read about the qualifications of four finalists for the superintendent’s position, I said, to a friend, “This is certainly a mere procedural matter prior to naming Dr. Dawson to the position.”

Email newsletter signup

I was shocked to learn that she received no vote from the board.

While I maintain great respect for the school board, I must question the selection process used for the superintendent search. When a leader has to transform an apparently broken system into a successful one with trip-hammer rapidity, there will surely be enemies made, especially when similarly qualified subordinates are vying for the same position.

It is only at the end of the day that the leader can be fairly evaluated. Any process that permits subordinates to evaluate a candidate who has been assigned the daunting task of providing a quick fix to serious problems, without having any measurement of the success or failure of that person’s efforts, appears to be grossly unfair.

I do not always agree with decisions made by Dr. Dawson. I respect her for having the courage to do what she thought was right, rather than playing it safe until after the selection process.

Kudos is offered to Mrs. Deborah Reeves-Howard for tenaciously opposing a candidate that was being offered a principal’s position in Selma. The school that he was ofrced to leave in another system achieved only 53 percent of its AYP goals. Why do we continue to believe that somebody else’s ice is colder and their sugar is sweeter than our own?

It is my prayer that the new superintendent will be as successful in accomplishing the goal of preparing our children for the next level as were Dr. Dawson and Team Selma.

It is possible that I may lose my job in the school system for exercising my right to free speech; however, I pray that Dr. Dawson will be able to continue her work in this sytem, with dignity, although superintendents, like prophets, are accepted, except in their own country.

Respectfully submitted,

Bishop Joseph Rembert Sr.

New Beginnings Christian Center Inc.