Sunday, July 03, 2005

Chief Academic Officer

Denver has a new schools superintendent and is in need of a "Chief Academic Officer", a position I've never heard of but I like the way it sounds. Linda Seebach of the Rocky Mountain News solicited advice for the new superintendent in choosing this person and got many interesting replies. Many of the people she quoted are people I know through an education maillist of which I am a member, and I trust their judgement(s). Read the entire article, but here are some of the nuggets she uncovered:

"If he has a masters degree and a doctorate from a reputable ed school, assume that if his lips are moving he is lying.

"If a candidate favorably mentions the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, or anything from the National Council of Teachers of English, he is not worth your time to interview.

"If a candidate prefers 'portfolio assessment' and other 'authentic assessments' over well crafted standardized tests, you should back away slowly and don't take your eyes off the candidate."


Anonymous said...

Darren -- great article. does one seek a qualified chief academic officer or as they are known in Nashville Chief Instructional Officer? Nashville's CIO did initiate standards starting from 12th grade down. The challenge is how does a lay person know if these are the right standards or how do they compare with other states?)

Thanks --


Darren said...

Unfortunately, Elizabeth, a lay person doesn't. That's a small part of the problem. A lay person could easily be swayed by those high sounding but content-empty standards that the NCTM or some states have adopted, could buy into the whole language tripe.

Knowledge is the key. This new superintendent does not come from the education world, but from the political world. That has some advantages and some pitfalls. He needs field-specific information with a quickness. He cannot depend only on district staff to give it to him. He needs to know all about the opposing views on education and then choose what he thinks is best, taking responsibility if he chooses poorly.

He could do a lot worse than to listen to the advice in Seebach's column.

Now, Elizabeth, you posted at quite an obscure hour of the day!