Administrator Magazine
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Who Is Doing What?

January 2008
This month's comic...
This month's comic...

All the doin's around the country

San Diego Superintendent Carl Cohn came out of retirement in October 2005 to head up the second-largest school district in California. But this past November, barely two years into the assignment, Cohn announced that he would leave the position a full 18 months before his contract was set to expire. “I don’t have the energy, heart, and passion that I did when I first took the job,” he told reporters. The district had been troubled by teacher dissatisfaction and infighting under the previous superintendent, Alan Bersin, when Cohn took the job. Cohn’s contract, which paid $250,000 per year, was due to expire on June 30, 2009, but the agreement allowed Cohn to leave at any time, with 90 days’ notice. At press time, his last day was scheduled to be December 31, 2007.

On her last day on the job, Banning (CA) Unified Superintendent Kathy McNamara lashed out at her critics, blasting them as “mean-spirited,” “vindictive,” and creating “a horrible climate in which to work” in a letter she read aloud at a November school board meeting. She is leaving her position to move to the Paso Robles (CA) school district, after receiving a vote of no confidence last fall from the board. McNamara had been widely criticized for her combative relationship with the teachers’ union and for her management style. “I think it is time for teachers to take stock in their leadership and decide if it’s time for a change—a change from negative, adversarial tactics that breed a climate of mistrust, ill will, and lack of personal integrity,” McNamara said at the meeting. She also sent copies of the letter to employees and newspapers. 

The Sampson County (NC) Board of Education
has chosen North Carolina state representative and former superintendent Larry M. Bell to serve as interim superintendent of schools as it conducts a search for a permanent replacement. The former superintendent, Stewart Hobbs, left for personal reasons that he “didn’t want to go into,” according to local reports. Hobbs has accepted a position as Stanly County (NC) school superintendent. Bell, who serves as the Majority Whip in the state General Assembly, will serve as interim superintendent until May 10 or until a replacement is hired.

Jim Littleford, the popular superintendent of the Altamont (IL) school district, will take over leadership of the Charleston (IL) school district starting July 1, 2008. The school board voted 7–0 in November to hire Littleford, selecting him out of 21 applicants and 6 candidates who were interviewed for the job. Littleford has been superintendent in Altamont since 2001 and also worked in administrative positions for school districts in Effingham, Edwards County, and Dieterich, Illinois.

Bogalusa is just a small city in southern Louisiana, but it seems to be going through superintendents like an urban metropolis. The third superintendent in four years, former assistant high school principal Ruth Horne, was unanimously voted in by the Bogalusa School Board in November, and at press time was set to start on January 1, 2008. She was one of only four applicants for the position, as it appears to be a tough job. Board President Mike Applewhite, when talking with a reporter, highlighted Horne’s disciplinary skills. “I believe she’ll be firm but fair,” he said.

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