In the last few days, as I learned more about the three people who would be Oakland’s next superintendent, I was struck by what an aspiring administrator will do — or, more precisely, about where they will go — to advance their careers, improve school systems, or whatever it is that drives them professionally.
Remember ex-State Administrator Kim Statham, who for two years flew back and forth to Washington, D.C. to catch an occasional glimpse of her husband and teenage son? Leon Glaster, who had `retired’ to Atlanta with his wife when he was hired to be Oakland’s interim CFO?
Barbara Adams may have both of them beat. Until this spring, the superintendent finalist had worked or studied in Portland, Atlanta and Boston since 2003, while her husband stayed behind at their home in Foster City.
Then there’s finalist Edward Velasquez, who is prepared to leave his kids, who range in age from 15 to 32, and his elderly parents, whom he cares for, in Southern California (I don’t think any of his children live with him). He told me that it the distance would be difficult, but that if he moved to Oakland, the job would become his life.
Wow. Call me a wimp, but I wonder how long someone can sustain such a lifestyle. If this sort of geographic over-extension is as common elsewhere as it’s been in Oakland, maybe it’s no wonder that the average superintendent’s tenure is three years (or 18 months in big urban districts, as some estimate).
You can read the short profiles of the three superintendents, which appeared in today’s paper, here.