School & District Management A National Roundup

Head of Boston School Board Won’t Lead Search for New Leader

By Catherine Gewertz — February 12, 2007 1 min read
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The chairwoman of Boston’s school board announced last week that she would no longer co-lead the search for a new superintendent for the 57,000-student district.

The decision by Elizabeth Reilinger, revealed in a Feb. 5 letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino, came two weeks after Manuel J. Rivera, the superintendent of the Rochester, N.Y., schools, changed his mind about taking the Boston job. The move left Boston to restart its search. (“Rivera Bows Out; Boston to Open New Hunt,” Jan. 31, 2007.)

Mr. Rivera cited unresolved contract issues and a compelling professional opportunity— a high-level job with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer—as reasons for backing out. The Boston Globe reported that he also found Ms. Reilinger’s management style too controlling, leading several city leaders to call for Ms. Reilinger to resign as the chairwoman of the school board, which she has led since 1998. Mr. Menino defended her performance.

Ms. Reilinger will continue to chair the board and serve on the 12-member search committee that was formed by the mayor and the school board in December 2005 to find a replacement for retired Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, but she will not co-chair it, said district spokesman Jonathan Palumbo. Leadership of that panel was under discussion, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the February 14, 2007 edition of Education Week


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