The Lee County School Board has proven to be woefully lacking in leadership and the ability to put children in our community first and are once again failing to listen to major stakeholders begging to forgo a National Superintendent Search and instead focus on moving the district forward with their current Superintendent selection.
The record of accomplishment of this School Board is appalling.
They took three times longer than necessary to elect a superintendent that soon proved to be ineffective, causing the district to remain stagnant for over three years. They provided no leadership as degradation occurred in almost every system and process within the Lee County educational system resulting in the District losing its "A" rating. Even when the fallacies of the current administration became widely known, this Board could not work together and provide the much-needed leadership to get the district to return focus to the children and the educational process.
Whether the ongoing investigation of the current administration was the catalyst or simply a coincidental health issue, the Lee County School Board was recently charged with their second momentous assignment in three short years; picking a replacement Superintendent. Once again, the Lee County School Board failed to demonstrate any leadership, professionalism, or sincere conviction in the best interest of the educational system and rushed a process that now appears to be beyond their collective abilities to master. The entire process appeared to many as contrived, pre-planned and orchestrated outside the sunshine without any input from key stakeholders.
Regardless of the deficiencies in the process, the die has been cast and a new Superintendent has been selected by a rare 5-0 vote. It is now time for change. It is time for each member of this School Board to put aside his or her personal and political agendas as well as letting go of past grievances with fellow Board Members. It is time, for the sake of this community, our children and the Lee County education system, for this Board to work together and support our new Superintendent. For the next six to eight months, this Board should abate any talk of replacement searches and focus their efforts on governance of a system that has been void of leadership for far too long. One only needs to look at Manatee County to see that national searches may bring out-of-state candidates, it certainly doesn't guarantee positive results. So even if the Superintendent selection process was flawed, the result provided a candidate that is as qualified and capable as any candidate could possibly be that would apply for this position with the added advantage of knowing the business and educational culture of both Lee and Collier county. It is time for this School Board to step back from the headlines and start performing the functions that they were elected to perform. Install and support the new Superintendent and let her do her job as the School Board resumes its policy-making duties in the background.
Steven Teuber, of North Fort Myers, is a former member of the Lee County School Board. He is an announced candidate for District 4.