Hartford Superintendent Process Continues To Stir Debate
Its now an issue in the race for Hartford's next mayor
By Jeff Cohen
February 24, 2011
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's decision earlier this week to intervene in the board of education's search for a superintendent continues to reverberate. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.
One of Segarra's opponents in the next mayoral campaign weighed in. Shawn Wooden is a Hartford attorney running for mayor. He says Segarra shouldn't have interrupted the superintendent process at the last minute.
"The failure of leadership started at the beginning of the process of not weighing in with a vision, not expressing an opinion -- including that a national search may be optimal."
Segarra asked the board of education to start over and conduct a national search following a WNPR report that David Medina, a spokesman for the board of education had done significant outreach for one of the two candidates for superintendent. The board is now considering its options.
In an interview with WNPR, Segarra said that news about Medina's advocacy for Dr. Christina Kishimoto was a significant factor in his decision to call for a national search.
"It's something that could put the whole candidacy into question and I think that Dr. Kishimoto didn't deserve that or to have her appointment questioned by that. "
Segarra says the board should now evaluate whether Medina's outreach on Kishimoto's behalf affected the process. He also said it's a factor that most of his critics have ignored.
"It's a factor that has not been given any consideration in many of the people who have responded to my request that they consider the future of that search."
For his part, Wooden says he was also concerned by Medina's actions but that he would have responded differently.
"I would have asked for a pause to actually get to the facts. You don't blow up a process at the eleventh hour."
The board of education has not yet announced when it will next meet.