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School Board should support its administration

Jan. 18, 2012

Public Forum:

We are writing as three former, long-term members of the Shorewood School Board. We worked for years with Dr. Blane McCann, and can testify that his gentle manner is combined with scholarship, a flint-like integrity, and an unswerving focus on the best interests of the children. We are grieved to see him leave, and we are profoundly concerned for Shorewood.

Twenty-three years ago a quarrelsome Shorewood School Board created a situation that caused five top administrators to leave Shorewood, causing damage that took years to repair. The board that followed agreed that they would handle their differences without resorting to infighting. For the next 20 years, through exhausting meetings, complicated issues, and difficult decisions, that agreement held.

No longer. Some current board members are known for their discourtesy, unreasonable demands, propensity to micro-manage, and inability to work with staff. A very capable superintendent, who provided visionary leadership and succeeded in strengthening our students' academic accomplishments, is now departing. Already, a number of our top administrators are asking whether they can work in this atmosphere. As the School Board begins its search for a new superintendent, we encourage board members to focus on the obligation of elected officials to set clear policy and direction, work collaboratively, and then support administration as they carry out those directions. The most important duty of the School Board is to create an environment where all children can succeed.

Nancy Bornstein

John Carlton

Emily Koczela

former Shorewood School Board members

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