Grier’s gone: His legacy (N&R)

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(SD U-T)

From the lead editorial in today’s N&R:

Terry Grier’s legacy

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008 

After eight stormy, but productive, years as superintendent of the Guilford County Schools, Terry Grier will take charge of the San Diego Unified School District, effective July 1.

Many wish he would stay. Others would have gladly bought him a one-way ticket to somewhere else years ago.

Among Grier’s allies, he won unprecedented levels of assistance from the business community. He also enjoyed consistent support from the school board, even as its personalities and politics changed over the years.

As for his detractors, some have lobbied, passionately, to “Get Terry Grier Outta Here” for more than three years.

That’s too bad. Grier, 57, hasn’t been a perfect superintendent, but he has been a good one, having just completed, arguably, his best year on the job.

Guilford County last year beat the North Carolina averages in state and federal testing results. Graduation rates are up; dropout rates are down. Eastern Guilford High School successfully finished the 2006-07 academic year after the campus was destroyed by fire on Nov. 1, 2006.

Grier was named the state’s Superintendent of the Year for 2007 and will vie for the national award next month.

Also during his tenure Grier forged partnerships with area colleges to create middle college and early college programs for struggling students and high achievers.

The district began a promising new program, Mission Possible, which offers incentives and bonuses to attract high-demand math and reading teachers to poor and low-performing schools. The number of students taking Advanced Placement exams has more than doubled.

Despite his successes, and thicker skin than most, Grier has at times felt unappreciated. When the subject of his pay once came up, he didn’t hesitate to point out that a superintendent in a smaller system earned more than he. (In San Diego, Grier will command a base salary of $269,000 a year versus his current pay of $202,903.)

He still bristles as well at the perception that he conceived the unpopular High Point reassignment plan that fueled much of the “Get Grier Outta Here” commotion. The now-abandoned plan originated with the school board (which seemed content all the same to let Grier take the heat for it).

There were bumps and potholes on Grier’s watch. The district struggled to manage its construction projects. A school bus-hub system went painfully awry in 2004. Two local high schools — Dudley and Smith — were among 17 statewide ordered by a Wake County Superior Court judge to improve student performance or be closed.

On balance, however, Grier has seen more victories than setbacks. And he has kept the ideas coming, including an audacious proposal to offer two years of free tuition to Guilford County Schools graduates at GTCC.

Effective superintendents are a precious commodity everywhere. He won’t be easy to replace.

***********************************

Umm…yes he will.

E.C. 🙂

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3 Responses

  1. As if Terry Grier is the only man who could run the GCS. The N&R’s love affair with Grier is embarrassing. Allan Johnson and the editorial staff ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  2. I agree with both of you – this type of fawning really is embarrassing and the local newspaper should be better than this. I agree that Terry Grier has had some successes and deserves credit for them. But this editorial glosses over the problems the school system has faced in recent years under Dr. Grier’s watch. The rampant problems with student discipline, in particular, threaten to undermine any gains that have been made.

    Also, this editorial buys into the false notion that good superintendents are “a precious commodity” that should be lauded like kings, paid like movie stars and praised to the high heavens. That’s just completely untrue – it’s a job, nothing more.

    Being a superintendent isn’t an easy job, but plenty of people possess the skills and experience to do it. Rather than look for a “precious commodity,” we should focus on finding a competent, honest educator for the job, preferably one with ties to this area.

  3. Well said, just saying.

    Grier has had protection from the Greensboro establishment during his tenure. That includes the News-Record. You know that Alan Duncan is the News-Record’s company lawyer, and he is currently leading the City of Greensboro Legal Dept.. All of the establishment in Greensboro is interwoven. Grier’s ultimate protectors were the Action Greensboro people, which has morphed into the economic development crowd. They are the economic elephant in Greensboro.

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