School & District Management

Boston Relieved to Snag Leader for Schools

By Catherine Gewertz — July 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Boston is welcoming a new schools superintendent, ending an unusually thorny, 18-month search.

Word was out about Carol R. Johnson even before the superintendent-search committee announced its unanimous choice last month. By June 27, when the school board confirmed her, she’d already had a week’s worth of meetings with educators and activists around town.

BRIC ARCHIVE

Now serving as the superintendent of the 119,000-student Memphis, Tenn., district, Ms. Johnson is expected to officially begin work in Boston in late August.

“We’re all very happy a selection has been made,” said City Council President Maureen E. Feeney, who, along with other council members, lunched with the 59-year-old superintendent in late June. “We were very touched by her level of passion.”

Ms. Johnson, who also led the Minneapolis schools for six years, said her priorities will reflect those she’s picked up in community chats: closing achievement gaps and improving poorer-performing schools.

The district’s hope to have a superintendent in place when Thomas W. Payzant retired in June 2006 was dashed as top candidates withdrew, and one who accepted the job backed out. (“Rivera Bows Out; Boston to Open New Hunt,” Jan. 31, 2007.)

Ms. Johnson’s reception in the 57,000-student district appeared to go smoothly. The Boston Globe praised her willingness to state her support for charter schools, and noted her “strong reputation as an attentive listener with a pleasing manner.”

Activists who had insisted the community should meet and question finalists also raised little objection.

William H. Guenther, the president of the Boston-based research group Mass Insight Education, who has advocated affording privacy to candidates involved in superintendent searches, said the results speak for themselves.

“We got the right leader in the end,” he said. “A year from now, if she’s providing the kind of leadership we expect, people aren’t going to remember much about the selection process.”

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 5 Things to Know About How the Culture Wars Are Disrupting Schools
Disruptions were more acutely felt in districts with more affluent and white students, but there weren't always clear-cut political lines.
6 min read
Illustration of neutral warning symbols, with two standing out in the colors red and blue.
filo/DigitalVision Vectors + EdWeek
School & District Management Divisive Politics Are Harming Schools, District Leaders Say
A new survey reveals how tough the politics are for some leaders, especially in the suburbs.
8 min read
Illustration of tug of war.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week, SvetaZi, and iStock/Getty
School & District Management Leading a City School District Is Tough. A New Program Aims to Ease the Way
Its creators hope to drive down big-city superintendent turnover by preparing candidates for the stresses of leadership.
3 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management 5 Tips for Switching From Snow Days to Remote Classes
Two district leaders say communication, flexibility, and adaptability are key to success.
4 min read
Close up of hands holding a smartphone and working at a laptop near a window showing a snowy day
iStock/Getty