Woburn Superintendent Search Open Letter
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Dear Members of the Woburn School Committee,
We write to you out of both hope and concern for the outcome of the current WPS Superintendent search. Our public schools are, and should be, our city’s most prized institution. They represent our city’s long tradition of excellence and hard work, as well as its future as a supportive, inclusive, dynamic center of life. We are proud of the work our school committee, administrators, and wonderful teachers and students have done to build our school system’s reputation. But it is the superintendent who truly sets the tone and direction, and at this moment - fraught with challenges both global and local, in a rapidly changing city and region - we believe that it is important to take the time to truly consider our priorities and conduct an exhaustive search for a leader who can put them into action.
We have read with concern the description, laid out in public meetings and communications, of the timetable for the superintendent search. Given the enormity of the task, we believe a period of only a few weeks - especially during the busy holiday period - is insufficient for a truly comprehensive search. Therefore, we respectfully request that the school committee extend the window into 2018. We both trust and respect Dr. Matthew Crowley, and know that he would bring energy, vision, and progressive ideas to the position were he to be hired permanently. But we also believe that there is no harm, and potential great benefit, in a more extensive search for candidates from around the region. We especially hope that the district will actively seek out female candidates, bilingual or multilingual candidates, and candidates of color.
We also hope that you will consider the clear challenges facing our district as you interview and examine these candidates. We ask that you seek candidates who will:
- Commit to increasing diversity and inclusivity among teaching and administration staff;
- Display creativity in funding and strengthening access to special education and English Language Learning programs;
- Seek to expand access to art, music, and foreign language study, including making these areas weekly instead of bi-weekly for elementary students;
- Work with the Woburn Teachers Association as a partner rather than an adversary;
- Fight for increased funding for our schools.
We believe that these are critical areas of focus for the next superintendent of the Woburn Public Schools, and hope that you will give them serious consideration and weight in your search. We want our schools to be a beacon for all families, from those with deep Woburn roots to those who are experiencing our city and country for the first time, and we believe that a superintendent who shares these values can give us all the bright future our city and our students deserve.
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