Good morning. My name is Bobby R. Henry, Sr. publisher of the Westside Gazette.
I stand before you today to urge you to put our students first, not partisan politics. There is a reason School Board members and Judges are not elected along partisan affiliations. It is expected that in our courts and our schools, we have officials who put all politics aside and do the best thing for those they represent.
In courts, a judge has the life of those seeking justice in the palm of their hands. You, too, as Board members have the lives of students in the palm of yours. You may think the selection of a superintendent is far from students, but it is not. While the superintendent is not a classroom teacher, he or she makes decisions that affect the classroom teacher and our little ones every single day.
For this reason, you must push all distractions aside and do what’s best for the little people who we are here to represent. Your decision is not even about your constituents who go to the ballot box. It is for those little ones who have suffered so much learning loss over the last two years because of a pandemic and failed leadership at the very top.
Dr. Valerie Wanza is your only choice if you seek to go inside. This morning I posted her resume alongside that of Mr. Ernie Lozano. Mr. Lozano is a budding administrator who, in time, will make a great superintendent. But his time is NOT today.
And I understand that Mr. Lazaro lives in Palm Beach County. Is he even eligible based on state statute that clearly reads the superintendent must reside in the county he or she serves?
Do not ask Dr. Wanza to become a de facto superintendent. We all know that to appoint Mr. Lazano or are. Jermaine Fleming, you are appointing them to the job and salary, but resting on your assurance that Dr. Wanza will serve as a de facto superintendent. She is the only one who is inside who is eligible and has the experience, institutional knowledge, and expertise to keep the train moving.
If you consider going on the outside, Dr. Earlean Smiley will make an excellent choice. There are four Board members who know firsthand the quality of her leadership.
Smiley was Torey Alston’s principal.
Debra Hixon worked for Smiley as a teacher.
Nora Rupert engaged with Smiley when she served as Deputy superintendent.
AND Jeff Holness knows of Smiley’s leadership and mentorship from his participation as a member of the Broward Alliance of Black School Educators.
Do the right thing by our children today.
Separate hurt feelings and partisan politics and select the best interim superintendent for our children so we can get to the task of selecting the permanent superintendent who will help us reclaim our A rating and status as the best school district in the nation.
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