Wednesday, August 15, 2007
My hat is off to the School Board for their recent decision to end the district's contract agreement with former Superintendent Donna Howell. I have no axe to grind neither with her performance or personality nor with the School Board, and I have no children in the district.
My position comes from having worked in the world of nonprofits, staff and boards for the past 28 years as a board member, an executive director, interim CEO, staff person and a committee volunteer, both here in Steamboat and in other parts of the country.
It is absolutely critical for a board and its chief staff person to be able to work together in harmony to achieve the goals related to the mission of the organization. It is absolutely clear to me from reading the Pilot & Today over the past 12 months that this atmosphere did not exist or, as time wore on, was it ever going to exist between the Board and its chief executive.
I do not know all of the historical reasons for this lack of harmony, nor do I care to, but I do know that this type of relationship is necessary in order for volunteers and staff to perform the always difficult job of running a large organization. It would seem that a lot of effort was put into trying to resolve the differences between the superintendent and her Board by bringing in an outside facilitator, but to no avail. It just wasn't a good fit, and the Board rightly made the decision to end the employment relationship.
The decision that was made was the Board's to make and theirs alone. I have read the blogs in this paper, I have listened to the street and post office conversations, and I have spent some time with a few of the Board members in the last few days since the decision was made.
My conclusion is this: we elected these folks to set policy and to provide governance for the district's business and to supervise its employee - the superintendent. They have done just that.
For all of you Monday morning quarterbacks, my message is this: Step up, be counted, and run for the School Board this fall. There will be three seats up for contention.