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Draft Bill Cala as next Rochester City School Superintendent

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Draft Bill Cala as next RCSD Superintendent

Let us save a great amount of time and money, for once. If the Rochester City School District school board truly wants a "foot soldier," as board President Van White stated in a recent City Newspaper article, I strongly encourage the board to select Bill Cala, former superintendent of Fairport Central School District, as Rochester’s next superintendent. As a former Spanish language teacher, whose first student teaching assignment was at East High School, Cala will likely garner the support of parents and the union.

Cala is a natural leader, having run school districts in the Rochester area (including a brief stint as RCSD’s interim superintendent). He also is a creative person, dynamic social entrepreneur, and ambassador for education, having established schools and other programs through his Joining Hearts and Hands organization, a not-for-profit working in Kenya. He is also an educational reformer, supporting students (and teachers and parents) in New York State through his public comments and activism about standardized testing, Common Core, Urban-Suburban program, Governor Cuomo’s education policies, and other important issues that concern our urban school district.

On WXXI’s “Connections” radio program, Cala made it clear that he would consider the position. He stated in a recent D&C article, “It’s just unbearable to me to watch another person come in who … doesn’t have the right motives.” Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association, supported Cala in a recent City Newspaper article. Even Mayor Lovely Warren stated on November 1, 2015, that she supports Cala. Murmurings outside of public forums also suggest broad support for Cala.

Cala is a local guy who deserves our support. Cala has lived and worked in the Rochester area for at least 45 years and therefore possesses necessary institutional and community knowledge. He graduated from Bishop Kearney High School, then earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Education and his Master’s degree in Education from St. John Fisher College. He received a PhD in Education from SUNY Buffalo. He has held administrative positions in Western New York since 1978. Cala has demonstrated that he is invested in this community and is clearly here to stay.

Although I am not naïve enough to think that one person alone can turn the district around, I think that a good start would be to pick Cala as the next superintendent. Indeed, we should select a person who uniquely embodies the qualities of leadership and compassion, as well as someone who will be a gladiator, agitator, and spokesperson for children and their education. Cala is that person. Provide him with the necessary autonomy and we may begin to see not only lasting improvement in RCSD schools but also a true turnaround.

Joel Helfrich

Co-Founder, Rochester River School



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