Superintendent Turnover: Passing the Baton v. Hitting Reset By Rick Hess

Superintendent Turnover: Passing the Baton v. Hitting Reset

As I noted on Friday, I spent the latter part of last week out in Clark County, Nevada, talking with local leaders and the local Public Education Foundation. The Clark County School District, which encompasses Las Vegas, is the nation's fifth-largest school system (serving 310,000 kids). After two years in office, superintendent Dwight Jones unexpectedly stepped down two months ago. Nevada chief Jim Guthrie stepped down a short time later, after only about a year in office. This has all led to considerable, and understandable, consternation. Given the recent spate of superintendent openings in big school systems, e.g. Baltimore, Boston, Indianapolis, and so forth, this is a challenge with which a bunch of communities are wrestling.

In Clark County, acting superintendent Pat Skorkowsky is charged with keeping school improvement efforts on track in a system with 40,000 adults and more than 300 schools. Meanwhile, a school board marked by strong personalities and real differences of opinion tries to decide whether to conduct a national search. Oh, and the state has just decided that the district's "school performance framework," which leaned on Colorado's growth model and which formed the backbone of Clark County's accountability and improvement strategy, needs to be revised to reflect the state's preference for a more NCLB-like model.

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