What Would Wanza Do?

A Message From The Publisher

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

As Superintendent Cartwright mulls over her decision for Deputy Superintendent, it might be beneficial to her to consider what and who she really needs to be in that position to be successful. Prayerfully this would be done by her seeking “wise counsel” and not from those vying for favor or the Blind Nine.

It is fair to say that her superintendency is on a slippery slope of ouch!!! and if I could paint the picture of sliding down a sliding board made of old splintered wood into a pool of alcohol; oh, my what a sensation!.

Her performance thus far is rated a D as in ‘not done to satisfaction,’ at best and she appears to either not be aware of her poor performance or she does not care. From all that I have read splattered over the internet like balloons filled with an assortment of paint thrown against a white wall about her last superintendency in Wisconsin, she hasn’t gained any knowledge. Perhaps a few bumps on the head might jog her memory. This portion of her superintendency seems to have picked up where the other one derailed, I guess the train wrecking continues.

Back to the grades. I spent time reviewing some of the school grades and talking to people who could help me make sense of it all. So, here goes:

There are two F grades in Broward –  Endeavor Primary Learning Center and North Fork Elementary. The two cadre directors who were assigned to these two F schools WERE NOT Dr. Eric Miller, Dr. David Hall or Dr. Carletha Shaw-Rolle… but these three were demoted. The two directors in charge of these two schools were Joe Balchunas and Maria Perez. Balchunas was hired on the same day as Dr. Eric Miller, yet he kept his job, and Dr. Miller was demoted. Maria Perez also kept her job and like Balchunas, she delivered the district a big fat F.

Humm, I noticed that there were nine total schools rated D or F. There are two Fs and 7 Ds. NONE of these schools were supervised by Dr. Eric Miller, Dr. David Hall or Dr. Carletha Shaw-Rolle. Interesting facts. But they were demoted and directors who supervised these nine failing schools remained in the district director positions. How does this make sense?

Holy Houdini Batman, you can keep your directorship in BCPS if your school gets an F.

Another interesting fact about these nine D and F schools is that  seven of the D schools sit in District 5. This is the district that Senator Rosalind Osgood represented for almost a decade until her departure a few months ago.

Like a butterfly struggling to break out of its cocoon, District 5 has fought tremendously for years with the lack of building construction and poor maintenance issues, disproportionate discipline of Black, Brown and poor students, under-enrollment and student performance gaps. The replacement for Oz has got to be someone who is not interested in the status quo or going along just to get along. The new District five Board member must be someone who is already knowledgeable about the system and the disparities that exist and is ready to roll up their sleeves on day one to get the job done.

In considering how to best get this work done, Cartwright, if smart, has no other choice but to choose Wanza as Deputy Superintendent. It is not a matter of who you like, but what you need. I don’t like cold ice water, but if I were in the hell that Cartwright is in, I would take what I need and drink up.

Wanza has the institutional knowledge that very few in the district have.

Cartwright appointed a region superintendent for the central area who has no Broward ties and it will take at least a year under the best circumstances for him to learn the landscape. Central area is the toughest region and needed a veteran person who could hit the ground running. This is not a mark on the hire but on the Sup’s decision.

Cartwright hired Dr. Jermaine Fleming as region superintendent and placed him in the North area. The North is probably the second most challenging area. Fleming is a former cadre director of middle schools and all accounts say he was successful. He was so successful that he was given a stint as Acting Chief of Strategy Operations when Maurice Woods scurried out of BCPS like a cockroach when the lights come on, when Runcie resigned. Fleming probably should have been assigned to the central area, but woah nelly – that horse has left the barn. Fleming will most likely be able to hold down the North as long as his cadre directors can deliver. Time will tell.

Cartwright further hired Alan Strauss for the South area, and it was probably her best placement decision. Strauss is a former high school Cadre director and was a high school principal in the South area. All sources tell me that the South area is the least difficult area with the least challenging schools.

But for the needy, struggling District 5 schools, the Chief of Academics, Dr. Nicole Mancini is definitely not equipped to turn things around. It would seem that she is not even in touch with schools like those in District 5. If you recall from a previous article, it is clearly laid out why Cartwright’s decision to appoint her Chief Academic Officer made little sense.

The question is, if not the aforementioned, then who? As much as Cartwright doesn’t want to acknowledge it, she needs Wanza though she clearly does not want her. For her own sake, she needs to acknowledge that the answer to every question that haunts her is ‘What Would Wanza Do’? While it is evident that she isn’t crazy about the idea and I, myself, am not necessarily in love with it either, my best advice is for the Sup to allow common sense (?) to prevail and stop listening to those people that the Grand Jury findings will probably silence anyway.

I will close with this: In a school district as large as Broward, it is bewildering that one person amassed the amount of power and knowledge that Wanza has without building a bench of others to carry on the work. But we are where we are and Wanza is the best choice for now. Shame on the district if it doesn’t learn from this and make sure that there is a better pool of at least a half dozen insiders who would be able to step into any position to continue moving the school district forward.

Batter’s up! It’s time to play hard ball and the Westside Gazette is watching!

About Carma Henry 20175 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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