Other Cities Take Months To Anoint A Schools Chief

Dennis Walcott received a much warmer welcome than his predecessor, but he was hand-picked by Mayor Bloomberg in much the same way Cathie Black was.

Some education experts are now questioning why Bloomberg named a chancellor so quickly, and without any formalized national search. 

"It didn't work out for Cathie Black and that's why it surprises me that he would rush to appoint someone so quickly," said Pedro Noguera, who teaches urban education policy at New York University.

By contrast, school boards across the country often take months to zero in on a candidate to manage their classrooms.
It recently took the city of Los Angeles more than six months to appoint a new superintendent. In New Jersey, Governor Christie has been working with a group of 18 community advisers trying to appoint a new chief for the troubled Newark public school system. 

In his introductory news conference, Dennis Walcott was asked if he thinks New York City should have done a more extensive search.  He shrugged the question off.

"No. The mayor made the choice and I'm his choice," Walcott said.

The school board in Nutley, N.J., has been in the market for a new superintendent since last fall.   The town is undertaking a national search, complete with a consultant hired to attract the best managerial talent. 

"We get the best, brightest and the people that are most creative," said Nutley resident Russell Giordano. "You don't get that if you just handpick somebody."

While Mayor Bloomberg appears to have skipped a national search for leadership candidates, other cities are raiding the ranks of New York City's senior education staff. 

Earlier this week Deputy Schools Chancellor John White accepted a job as head of schools in New Orleans.  His departure followed the exodus of three other high-level Department of Education staffers.

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