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School board failed our kids

One thing is clear from the recent firing of superintendent Lynn Spampinato: The school board failed Summit County’s children miserably.

The school board either hired the wrong superintendent in the first place, or it hired the superintendent it believed would be best for the education of our kids – what we elected the board to do first and foremost – and then lacked the courage and commitment to stand behind that person in the face of adversity.

Either way, our kids and their education will suffer as a result of the board’s gross mishandling of this situation.



As to the possible first failure, the hiring of a superintendent is the single most important duty of the school board.

It is essential for the school board to find not only the best, but also the right person for that position, given the realities and unique qualities of our school district and county.



That is what the school board said it was doing when it engaged in a lengthy and expensive search for a new superintendent, and we believed it.

The school board interviewed and eventually hired someone in Dr. Spampinato who openly held herself as someone dedicated to improving the academic standards for and performance of our children, and as an agent for change in the district to accomplish those laudable goals.

Sounds pretty good? To her credit, Spampinato has been consistent with those goals since she took office.

We, the community, only now learn that certain teachers and perhaps board members took issue with Spampinato’s “management style” and the pace of change that she sought to implement (read – too fast).

If the school board wanted a superintendent with a collaborative and consensus building management style (read – slow) as it now suggests Spampinato lacked, it should have never hired her in the first place. It made a gross and costly mistake when it did.

The school board had no reason to believe Spampinato possessed the qualities it now claims she lacks.

The school board knew full well that Spampinato was a direct, no-nonsense manager keen on bringing change to the district, and with a background primarily in urban school districts, very different than ours.

For any school board member to suggest anything to the contrary at this point would be disingenuous. Alternatively, if, in Spampinato, the school board hired the very person that its members truly believed was best for the education of our kids (as they told us they had), then they should have all stood firmly behind Spampinato and given her an opportunity to succeed, even if that was unpopular with some teachers.

Now, after less than a year, we have no superintendent and are faced again with the slow and expensive task of searching for yet another new superintendent.

Never mind the large sum that the district owes Spampinato for terminating her contract. That is all money wasted that should have been spent on our kids and teachers.

The bottom line is that this school board failed our community in its single most important task, and our kids are the ones paying for it.

This school board should not be given the chance to repeat its failures by being allowed to hire the next superintendent. A new school board should be charged with the critical task of hiring the next superintendent.

The current school board members failed our children once. Let’s not give them the chance to fail our children again.


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