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Superintendent search committee: Who’s on it

By Katy Murphy
Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 3:27 pm in leadership changes, School board news, superintendent search.

After the May 20 public forum in which we’ll meet the two or three finalists for Oakland’s top job, a seven-member advisory committee will take a closer look and give the board a non-binding recommendation. The committee was officially formed this afternoon at a special board meeting (that I just happened to learn about while checking for Wednesday’s agenda).

Of the seven members, three once served on the Oakland school board. Here is the full list of appointees next to the name of the board member who chose them:

  • Jody London - Ken Rice, who served on the Oakland school board until 2001
  • David Kakishiba – Liz Sullivan, an organizer with Oakland Community Organizations
  • Jumoke Hinton Hodge – Greg Hodge, her husband and predecessor on the school board
  • Gary Yee – Wilma Chan, former assemblywoman who lost to Loni Hancock in last year’s state Senate race
  • Chris Dobbins – Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney who served on the school board between 1999 and 2007
  • Noel Gallo – Ward Rountree, executive director of the Oakland teachers union
  • Alice Spearman – Harold Mayberry, pastor of the First African Methodist Church

What do you think of the makeup of this committee? You can find the document with their names and duties here.

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  • harlemmoon

    This is a joke, right?!
    Surely the true candidates will be revealed.
    Let me be the very first to say that the search MUST be re-conducted as NO ONE on this list of so-called finalists deserves serous consideration.
    Jumoke nominated her own husband? How many ways can we spell CONFLICT?
    Ward Roundtree? Nice guy, but incredibly unqualified for the position.
    Wilma Chan? What possible new vision can this product of the old-school political machine reveal?
    I can go on and on, but I’ll stop at Alice Spearman. Remember her? She’s the board president who stepped down just last week, saying she didn’t feel effective and wanted to speak her mind (or some such nonsense). Well, folks, now are true motives are evident.
    Sheesh. And we’re in a hurry to return local control to this bunch of morons? No wonder little Johnny and Susie can’t read.
    Oakland! Wake the hell up!

  • Katy Murphy

    This is the list of people who will interview the finalists and make a non-binding recommendation to the board. It’s an advisory committee, not a list of candidates.

  • harlemmoon

    Thanks for the clarification. Some of the arguments still apply. The board, using these panelists, continues to push an unsavory agenda. I’m still cracking up over the husband-wife appointment.

  • judy

    Is this a joke – that Ms. Hodge selected her own husband?
    How can this be permitted? It is this type of behavior that makes the school board look like “ONE BIG JOKE!

  • Jim Mordecai

    Greg Hodge was a former school board member during the state take-over and is familiar with the operations of both the District and the concerns of his wife’s district. It would be difficult to find someone in Greg Hodge’s district with more knowledge about Oakland Public Schools. It would be a joke if his only qualification was his being the school board member’s husband. But, having preceded his wife on the Board why wouldn’t that provide a background for making an experienced judgment about the qualities of a future Superintendent? If he was the best qualified person in the judgment of a board member, why should marriage be held against making that selection?

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    I don’t have a problem with Hodge’s selection, husband or not. I agree with Jim Mordecai on this. Without specific anti-nepotism prohibitions to prevent it,office holders can and will bring in relatives for public service. This is especially true when the post is advisory, meet and greet, or political. Nothing wrong with it. The appointee is an extension of the office holder – that’s the point of that appointment anyway.

    Just don’t look for any breakthrough Super. The board is going to continue with failure factory policy because that’s their thing with education and OUSD. They are not a reform board. OUSD will have to crash and burn before anything changes. And that day may be coming.

  • harlemmoon

    Agreed.
    I have low (virtually no) expectations for this board to demand new, visionary leadership of the next Supe. None of them have had an original thought since Michael Jackson was either black or a man.

    Jim your comment “If he (Greg) was the best qualified person in the judgment of a board member,” is exactly the problem. It’s not just “a board member.” She happens to be his wife, which in and of itself can cause clouded judgment. Which is precisely why it wouldn’t have been a problem had another board member made the selection.

    What’s more, while Greg may be more well known than other education advocates, it is not entirely clear that he is the most qualified. But we’ll never know, will we? Why? Because his wife, in her selection as “just a board member” effectively froze out anyone else who might have been more competent, aware and expert, by selecting her husband to the panel.

  • cranky teacher

    Harlemmmoon, you just exposed yourself as someone who is simply reactionary. You didn’t even read the headline before you went into freak out mode.

    You and Nextset are so damn smart, you should run for school board. It’s honestly not that hard to land on the thing if you work at it for a year, get some core supporters and walk precincts.

  • harlemmoon

    Cranky, it’s easy to freak out in Oakland.
    Exposed myself? Nah, That’s a bit harsh. Sorta like calling a stern teacher cranky…oh wait.

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  • Nextset

    Me – run for school board? In Oakland?? Who’d vote for me anyway! I’m not politically correct. Oakland wants feel good candidates who tell the people what they want to hear. If the voters of Oakland wanted a good school district, they’d have one. Like they once did.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Do any of these people know what it takes to manage a school district? Only one represents parents specifically. Isn’t Dan Siegal the role model busted for POT a few years back? Frankly, my expectations are so low it doesn’t matter. I’m sure this group will make the selection ever more political instead on focusing on what is broken, what needs to be fixed and who can fix it. We’ll be talking about personality and appeasing constituencies instead of educating STUDENTS. HELLO, does anyone focus on the students? Where’s the education experts? The financial experts? The parents? Oh well, what can we expect.

  • cranky teacher

    TheTruthHurts: You can trash them all you want, but some of these folks have quite a bit of experience in education. Since you mentioned Dan Siegel:

    – He was the Chief Counsel to the Superintendent for several years.

    – He served on the board for 8 years, about half that time as president of the board.

    – He has long taught a course at Mills in the Education Department (schools and the law for administrators).

    – His son went through OUSD, graduating from Skyline.

    – He lives in East Oakland and has for 30 years.

    Yes, he received a ticket for pot. However, did you notice that our GOP Gov. wants us to consider legalizing it?

    You and Harlemmoon and Nextset are extremely frustrated and who could blame you? However, I see no purpose or help in your shrieking and rather ignorant attacks. Attacking politicians, bureaucrats and all the rest is so easy. Where does it get us?

    Who should be making the selection?

  • harlemmoon

    Yes, Cranks, I am frustrated. I am working diligently toward the day when the expectations for every student in OUSD are limitless. When we can expect that they will graduate literate, prepared and capable. When aspirations are more than becoming the next best ball-player or rapper.

    Yes, Cranks, it’s high time we set the bar high and demanded that our children reach for it – or at the very least, try!

    Yes, Cranks, I want true leadership. Heck, even you can’t deny that Matthews and Mayor, and Statham before them, are complete zeros. So, here we are. Another crossroads. And the promise, the hope for a world-class school district is as far off as a third Bush term.

  • cranky teacher

    Like I said, I don’t disagree with the frustration.

    Personally, I see these problems as systemic and unlikely to be solved by a superhero or two.

    If you study, parent or work at one of these schools you can’t wait for a principal or superintendent to save us.

    As for the recent string, they are just puppets for Jack O’Connell and the Broad folks. If you weren’t happy with them, you should at least be happy the same crew isn’t picking this one…

  • Nextset

    I thought Harlemmoon and I weren’t supposed to agree on things… what’s happening here?

  • harlemmoon

    Nextset, your side of the fence isn’t so awful – particularly where there is sound reason and logic.
    I have no illusions, however, that our agreement is lasting!