Irving Hamer, the deputy Memphis school chief, just added back to the list of finalists for Little Rock school superintendent at a hurryup special board meeting last night, isn't interested in the job.
Memo from Board President Melanie Fox to School Board:
I received a call this afternoon from Dr. Hamer who informed me that he would decline our second invitation to interview with the Board. We had a pleasant conversation and Dr. Hamer impressed me as a highly competent and knowledgeable educator, but he was clearly unhappy with the way our search had been handled with respect to his candidacy. I apologized for any miscommunication during the search and told Dr. Hamer we were sorry to lose him as a candidate. We will proceed next week with the three interviews currently scheduled.
How to make sense of this briefly without getting into the confusing world of LR School Board politics?
1) Hamer never evinced great intereste, particularly after not making the cut of finalists by a private search firm.
2) Board member Michael Nellums (and Katherine Mitchell) don't want former LR deputy Hugh Hattabaugh on the finalist list.
3) The move to add Hamer was intended to bump Hattabaugh, a stronger candidate. That didn't happen. Hamer was never a contender. Nellums apparently backs Walter Milton, the Springfield, Ill., superintendent, to the point that he made a call to his Illinois school district before he was named as a finalist saying he was under consideration. Milton was reported in the running for the job three days before he was chosen. Nellums called last night's meeting. But he voted against the motion to keep Hattabaugh on the finalist list while adding Hamer. Mitchell made it clear she opposes Hattabaugh.
Perils of Pauline. Can this school train wreck be avoided? Interviews with three finalists will proceed next week. Can a solid consensus be reached? Stay tuned.