Boston Public Schools Superintendent Search Lacking, Parents and Advocates Say
Parents and advocates tapped into the ongoing superintendent search say the process hasn’t met the bar and one organization is calling to reopen the search.
Public interviews for Boston Public Schools superintendent candidates started on Monday with three finalists—Oscar Santos, Marie Izquierdo, and Brenda Cassellius—vying for the position.
But the search process has been under scrutiny by parents and community members who have cited a lack of transparency.
Rodolfo Aguilar, a parent organizer and founder of Massachusetts Parents United, said the search isn’t complete.
“I think they should reopen the search because I don’t think that the candidates … have all the qualifications needed to run the Boston public school system given the complexity of it,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar, a former BPS parent and graduate, said he is worried that none of the finalists have previously led urban districts.
“We are concerned about who they are picking and why. We don’t want a superintendent who is going to be some political pawn … we need someone with character who is going to stand up,” Aguilar said.
The finalists were selected from a pool of 39 potential candidates.
Lucas Orwig, a BPS parent, said his main concern is the timing of the search.
“The problem is that we didn’t know who the finalists were, we didn’t know their names or anything about them until last Wednesday, so now we need time to get to know these people,” Orwig said. He added that parents wishing to attend the public interviews need more than a week’s notice to be able to attend.
Michael Maguire, a BPS teacher and parent, said it’s too soon to call for changes in the search. “I think we should wait and see what all three candidates have to say,” Maguire said.
The three-day interview process will end Wednesday and the seven-member School Committee will make its decision by the end of the month.
Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, a member of the Boston Coalition for Education Equity, deferred comment on the search process to parents, but LCR civil rights fellow Lauren Sampson said, “LCR is excited about the diversity of the candidates but we remain concerned that the search didn’t have enough parent involvement.”
Mayor Martin J. Walsh will make the final decision on who is hired as superintendent.
“Mayor Walsh is focused on this week’s public process, where almost half of the interview panelists are BPS parents, and the ongoing work of the search committee,” spokeswoman Samantha Ormsby said.
School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto declined to comment about the search process concerns through a BPS spokesman.