Grier’s Gone: The search…and the golden parachute

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(Rhino Times)

I’d figure I run this cartoon again because we may have a golden parachute situation going on here, if we don’t get some questions answered in the next several days.

Terry Grier (technically) is still on contract with Guilford County Schools. But, in a San Diego Union-Tribune article from the other day, a U-T reporter said: Although Grier won’t officially start his job until July 1, he plans to make several working trips to San Diego in the interim. He’s also developing what he calls a “100-day entry plan.”

And judging from the comments we’ve received here over the past couple of days, you all are sharing the same concerns.

So…will he be taking these trips on OUR dime or San Diego’s dime? Or both? If we cut ties with Grier now, what kinds of incentives does he walk away with? We need these questions answered because the taxpayers have the right to know what’s going on.

Today’s lead editorial in the News & Record ponders the same thing and echoes some of my sentiments about the upcoming search:

Conduct open search

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 
It shouldn’t be hard for the Guilford County school board to devise a good plan for selecting a new superintendent: It can do what Charlotte-Mecklenburg did two years ago.

North Carolina’s largest system relied on public input at the beginning and end of its search, eventually putting its three finalists through a series of open meetings with community groups.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:-HPZ3NROE23njM:http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/boardEducation/images/joeWhite.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The process was thorough and grueling, Board of Education Chairman Joe White said Tuesday. “We are pleased with the result,” he added.

One of those finalists was Guilford County Superintendent Terry Grier, who accepted the top school position in San Diego Saturday. So, the Guilford board has to find a replacement.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:ws7juSCr3MPcHM:http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2007/02/28/14/173-peter_gorman.embedded.prod_affiliate.57.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Grier withdrew before the Charlotte-Mecklenburg board chose Peter Gorman, who emerged as a favorite among those who participated in the public examination of the finalists. White said that input was important to his evaluation and helped make sure the new superintendent would be accepted by the community.

The board held private interviews with nine or 10 semifinalists, White said, but told them the three finalists would have to agree to public identification. That puts candidates in a “very unfair situation,” White admitted, because of problems it can cause them in their current jobs. “Some were very reluctant,” he said, but none backed out.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:b8ORbFOJTYbhoM:http://www.greensboro.org/CH/people/images/GCS_Quick.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Guilford school board Vice Chairman Amos Quick, who began meeting with teachers and principals Tuesday soliciting their ideas about the selection, said community input will be important “early, continuously and particularly toward the end,” when the field of candidates is whittled down. Community buy-in is critical, he said.

Timing presents concerns. November’s school board election might transpire before the superintendent search is completed. As many as six seats could turn over. Should the board wait until a new cast is assembled before hiring a superintendent?

“Had I been going off the board, I would have wanted the person replacing me to make that decision,” White, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg chairman, said.

That also could save the new superintendent the awkward experience of suddenly finding himself or herself with unfamiliar bosses.

“There could be some merit in waiting,” Quick said. But some risk, too, if strong candidates get away in the meantime.

http://bjimg.sv.publicus.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Avis=BJ&Dato=20080121&Kategori=NRSTAFF&Lopenr=613623641&Ref=AR&MaxW=146&Border=0 Before going that far, the board has more immediate decisions to make, Chairman Alan Duncan said Wednesday. One is to “straighten out what our relationship with Terry is going to be.” That might result in his departure before his July 1 official start date in San Diego and the installment of an interim superintendent sooner rather than later. Duncan expressed confidence in the abilities of current senior staff members to carry on.

Whatever decisions the board considers, it will assure better outcomes if it provides opportunities for public participation.

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As I said, why this is not even an agenda item for Saturday’s Board retreat is baffling.

E.C. 🙂

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