The Austin American Statesmen editorial board weighed in yesterday with an editorial about the imminent departure of Dr. Meria Carstarphen, who is now the only finalist for the superintendent’s position in Atlanta.
The editorial, titled “In wake of superintendent’s departure, district faces big challenges” is behind a pay wall, but the following are some excerpts (emphasis added) and includes extensive criticisms of the AISD Board:
The ability to find a qualified replacement depends on the board’s ability to move past lingering campaign politics, stop micromanaging school administrators and make prudent decisions regarding financial matters.
The toughness, tenacity and top-down leadership style that made [Carstarphen] so effective on the one hand hurt her ability to build trust with certain communities.
Carstarphen was frustrated and flummoxed by Austin’s penchant for debating issues to the point of near inaction. That is understandable.
Her case was not helped by the appearance that the board seemed to rubber-stamp her decisions. Voters responded in 2012 by electing four new trustees, three who were vocal critics of Carstarphen.
If the election was meant to be a correction to overreaching tactics of Carstarphen, it missed its mark. Instead, the pendulum swung too far in the other direction, in which some board members have undermined Carstarphen’s authority. The result has been a board that is adrift without a clear mission.
As it calms the public’s concerns, the board must also ease anxieties of quality administrators Carstarphen hired to prevent an exodus of talent as well as the destabilization of the district.
I am sure the Board now understands that, when you engage in a game of ‘chicken’, there is a good chance that you will lose. And in a big way!
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