The New Bedford Educators Association welcomes the opportunity to be part of the discussion leading to the selection of the next superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools. Our next superintendent will shape New Bedford Public Schools for years to come as well as be responsible for the opportunities available to our students right now.
The successful candidate for superintendent will support educators in meeting our students’ immediate needs and develop strategies alongside educators, parents and other community leaders to continually strengthen New Bedford Public Schools’ ability to address the academic, social and emotional needs of every student.
For our schools to be successful, it is essential that educators, parents and administrators have shared goals and principles that are in service to our students. While each stakeholder group has its own perspective deserving of respectful consideration, decisions about the New Bedford Public Schools must be made with one question foremost in mind: Is this good for students?
From an educator’s perspective, a successful superintendent search will yield a candidate capable of articulating clear, concise decisions. We expect to have input, and that parents and other community leaders will have input, but in the end, the superintendent must decisively implement policies that are in the best interests of our schools and students.
Indecision can be as damaging as a bad decision. It is essential that the next superintendent has the ability to draw consensus around well-formulated plans.
The next superintendent must keep an eye on the big picture while trusting educators and building administrators to do their jobs. Establishing clear lines of communication throughout the district will make it easier for all stakeholders to carry out their roles while creating an environment that lets all of our students thrive.
The ideal superintendent candidate will not be a traditional top-down manager but rather be more like an orchestra conductor. We envision a superintendent who bring together the educators, students, administrators, parents and elected leaders in such a manner that these stakeholders are familiar with each other’s perspectives, and that the various points of view can be harmoniously arranged to bring out the best in our public schools.
The successful superintendent will also be a stabilizing force. The NBEA is alarmed by the number of resignations and departures from our district. Excessive turnover is disruptive to our students.
While we must naturally account for wisdom and expertise lost to retirements and welcome the energy and insights of new educators, we must also create an environment that makes seasoned educators want to stay in New Bedford. The next superintendent will make it a priority to ensure New Bedford Public Schools are not only hiring the best people — but also keeping the best people on the job.
The upcoming change in leadership for New Bedford Public Schools is the perfect time for all of us to assess the strength of our schools and to build on our successes.