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Must be lonely at the top, and far from home


(Left to right) Barbara Adams, Tony Smith and Edward Velasquez

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 Continue Reading

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Superintendent search: The Final Three


(Left to right) Tony Smith, Barbara Adams and Edward Velasquez

Tony Smith, deputy superintendent of instruction, innovation and social justice in San Francisco; Barbara Adams, former chief academic officer for Boston Public Schools and Edward Velasquez, superintendent — and chief of police — of the Montebello school district in Los Angeles County.

You can read the district’s news release, which includes each of their bios, here.

I also found a lengthy KALW interview with Smith, which might provide some insight into his views on education.

What do you think of this slate of finalists? Based on the little information you have (I promise to dig up more), who’d be your pick? You can meet them at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Oakland Technical High School’s auditorium.

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Superintendent search committee: Who’s on it

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: Continue Reading

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Update: No internal candidates made the cut

I just spoke this afternoon with Stan Paz of Ray & Associates, the firm hired to help find Oakland’s next superintendent of schools.

Paz wouldn’t tell me much, but he did say this: None of the four semi-finalists selected by the board were internal candidates. So much for the hopefuls presented here thus far…

These four people will be interviewed by the school board next week. Continue Reading