Segarra Calls For National Superintendent Search, Board Of Ed Changes Course
Hartford mayor's press conference came after concerns were raised about process
By Jeff Cohen
February 22, 2011
The Hartford board of education was going to name a new school superintendent tonight, but then Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra got involved at the last minute. WNPR's Jeff Cohen has more.
Segarra has no formal role in the process to select a new superintendent. That said, following a story on WNPR that highlighted community concerns about the superintendent selection process, Segarra said he spent most of the day on the phone with board members asking them to start over and to do a national search.
"For the sake of having a process that will not undermine any superintendent's credibility moving in, and in order to accommodate interests of transparency, interests of trying to have a broader base of candidates from which we can select, I am asking the board of ed to take this step of converting their process to a national search."
The board only did an internal search for superintendent. Two candidates applied -- one was a magnet school principal, the other was a key deputy to outgoing Superintendent Steven Adamowski. That deputy, Christina Kishimoto, became the likely choice.
Segarra said his last-minute recommendation isn't a commentary on Kishimoto. It's a commentary on the process.
WNPR reported this weekend that a spokesman for the board of education had done significant outreach on Kishimoto's behalf.
"I don't know that it was inappropriate. But it jeopardizes, in the eyes of many, the integrity of the process."
Segarra's late move surprised education advocate Jim Starr of the organization Achieve Hartford!.
"You know, I was surprised, I guess a little disappointed. Clearly if there was some concerns of this, it could have been done well in advance of today. Whether that's a week, two weeks, several weeks in advance, I think that would have been reasonable -- to weigh in at that point."
Starr also said he had no concerns about the transparency of the search process.