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Hartford Designs Superintendent Succession Policy

Steven Goode

July 14, 2010

With the 2011 departure of Superintendent Steven Adamowski imminent, the board of education has begun formulating a new policy on leadership succession.

The proposed policy, which was introduced at the school board's June meeting and is likely to go to a vote at the August meeting, is designed to promote consistent strategies and goals and ensure continuous improvement and stability.

It will address the short-term replacement of a superintendent in the event of an emergency, permanent leadership change through succession and planning for changes in key district leadership positions.

As it stands, the policy calls for the establishment of a succession planning committee that would include the school board chairman and two board members — one appointed and one elected — as well as a parent, a teacher, an administrator and a member of Achieve Hartford!, the local education fund that supports school reform.

The succession planning committee would be responsible for:

•Approving the superintendent's recommendation of an acting superintendent in the event of an emergency absence or illness lasting longer than 30 days.

•Implementing a succession plan in the event of a superintendent's resignation or retirement, or the completion of the superintendent's contract.

•Approving the superintendent's recommendations for promoting district employees to key leadership positions. Those positions would include the chief academic officer, the chief operating officer, the chief talent officer and the chief financial officer.

The committee would have up to 18 months before a superintendent's departure to start an internal search for a successor before recommending a search outside the school system.

Milly Arcinieagas, president of the Hartford Parent Organization Council and a member of the search committee that hired Adamowski in 2006, said Tuesday that she supported the proposed succession plan, especially because it encourages the committee to search inside the system first.

"It's kind of like continuing the momentum and institutional knowledge," she said.

But Arcinieagas said she was concerned about the involvement of Achieve Hartford! in the process because it might favor a choice unpopular with parents.

"If [the search] doesn't go the way the community wants, it could lead to resentment," she said.

James Starr, executive director of Achieve Hartford!, said Tuesday that the school board is asking several interested parties to take part and that Arcinieagas' he argument could be made against any of them. Starr said any position the organization takes is based on advancing educational reform in the city.

He said the new succession policy is good because it specifically addresses a process to develop leadership in house.

"It should be called a talent policy," he said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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