The League of Women Voters has written the Little Rock School Board urging district-wide input and an advertised search for a new superintendent. Board member Micheal Daugherty has suggested hiring Interim Superintendent Linda Watson on a permament basis.
The league's letter and Daugherty's response follow.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS LETTER
TO: PRESIDENT MITCHELL AND MEMBERS LITTLE ROCK
FROM: LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PULASKI COUNTY
RUTH BELL ACTION CHAIR
RE: PERMANENT SUPERINTENDENT SELECTION
We believe the interests of the children of the Little Rock School District are best served by a two step process in the selection of a permanent superintendent.
STEP ONE: Aggressively seek input from parents, teachers, citizens on District goals and the background and abilities a superintendent needs to meet those goals.
STEP TWO: Secure the services of a permanent superintendent through an advertised search in Arkansas and adjacent states.
Active community involvement in the process, and selection from a regional pool of applicants will go far to assure the new permanent superintendent has strong community support to deliver the best possible education to all the District’s children.
BOARD MEMBER MICHEAL DAUGHERTY'S RESPONSE
With all due respect Mrs. Bell, I disagree with your assessment. What you are proposing is akin to a dying man with three weeks to live undertaking a six-month search to find a physician to cure him when he has an equally qualified one standing next to him.
I placed the action item on the agenda because I believe we are at a critical point in the LRSD. We are in desperate need of stability at the administrative level and that has already begun to occur with Dr. Watson as the Interim. We are on year one of student improvement for the entire district through the ADE (contrary to what a former superintendent had us to believe). We have several key positions to be filled which would best be done by the permanent superintendent. And we have to prepare for and make plans on how to build and finance the new WLR Elementary School and acquire a site for a new middle school in order to compete with the various charters and private schools. But above all of this we need someone who is dedicated to the success and education of ALL the children in the LRSD. From our National Merit Scholars to our Special Needs Children, we can’t afford to overlook a single one.
Before you discount the knowledge and ability of the person I have asked the board to consider for the permanent position, your colleagues and you have every opportunity to meet with her and get a feel of her sense of dedication and commitment to the LRSD. Talk to her about the positions she has held, the committees she has served on, and the departments she has supervised. Ask her how she has been a problem solver for the district regarding student discipline and student assignment. Engage her on the various programs in place and their effectiveness. Talk to her about her opinion regarding what we should keep and what should go. Once you do I think you will be impressed with her knowledge and expertise in all areas and functions of the district.
I have been a member of this board for more than twelve years and have examined all the options available to the district to fill the superintendent’s position and none have measured up to my proposal that we hire Dr. Watson.
Go with God, Mrs. Bell and pray we all make the right decisions.
Robert M. Daugherty
Director, LRSD Zone #2