I am writing this as a former 10-year vice chairman of a regional school board in a northern state. Also, I spent three years as a field representative for the state’s Association of School Boards, assisting school boards in policy creation, governance issues and superintendent searches.
After working with dozens of school boards on very sensitive issues, I can objectively state that I rarely encountered a board as dysfunctional as our Beaufort County Board of Education. The majority of the board (and certainly its officers) are woefully unaware (the word “clueless” comes to mind) of their mission and how to go about it.
The board treats the concept of doing the public’s business in public with contempt. Board members are remarkably thin-skinned, forgetting that they are elected officials and that scrutiny and criticism is part of the job description.
The board also does not recognize that the superintendent works for it, not the other way around, with several members appearing to be unabashed shills for him. School boards need people who are not in awe of, and not intimidated by, an assertive superintendent.
The issue is not the superintendent’s performance, the issue is his conduct. It should be dealt with and dealt with in public.