Educators for Excellence Boston is an organization that works with Boston-area educators to build a more excellent school system where every student has a chance to succeed. We have worked since our founding 2016 to empower educators to develop and advocate for solutions to support student mental health, create a welcoming school environment, make curriculum more anti-racist and inclusive, and disrupt the school to prison pipeline.
As an organization focused on ensuring educators have a leading voice in policy conversations, we wanted to engage our membership and get their perspective on what qualities the next Superintendent should possess, as well as what questions should be asked during the interview process to find this person. Over two weeks in April, we contacted 26 BPS educators and had conversations with them about the search. Their responses are summarized below.
Takeaway #1: Educators want the next superintendent to be a former educator who is from Boston, plans to stay with the district for a long tenure, and is actively committed to anti-racism.
The first question we asked educators in our conversations was what were the most important qualities or experiences our next Superintendent should have. The top 3 are below:
- Former educator who is from Boston: The next Superintendent should be a former educator with a deep connection to Boston and a thorough understanding of the history and current landscape of BPS.
- Plans to stay with the district for a long tenure: Educators want someone who has a long-term vision for the district and plans to stay long enough to move the district forward.
- Active commitment to anti-racism: Educators want a Superintendent who is willing to actively promote anti-racist curriculum and culture throughout the district, and uphold an employee evaluation system that is fair and equitable.
Takeaway #2: Educators want a Superintendent who will meaningfully engage with the BPS community.
We also asked educators how the next Superintendent can partner with the community to be successful, and many emphasized the three below:
- Be proactive in meeting consistently with teams of community members, including teachers, students, families and community leaders: The next Superintendent needs to prioritize consistent and transparent dialogue and collaboration with community stakeholders.
- Prioritize school visits and connecting with students: Educators want the next Superintendent to spend more time in schools engaged with students and learning firsthand about their experiences.
- Host community events: Educators believe there should be more opportunities for the community to meet with the Superintendent and engage on a personal level.
Takeaway #3: Educators think that specific questions need to be asked during the screening and interview process.
Educators shared questions that each candidate should be asked, including the following:
- What is your vision for BPS students and how will we prepare them for the future?
- What relationships do you have with groups, activists, and visionary leaders within and outside of the education field? How do you envision leveraging these connections in your new role?
- How will you keep school leaders accountable for fair and equitable teacher evaluations?
- What steps will you take to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace?
- How do you plan to support English language learners and their families?
- How will you strategize to manage and support a large school district with highly varying needs?
- Do you believe standardized testing is effective in determining equitable outcomes for all students? How do formative and cumulative assessments factor into your beliefs?
- We’ve been hearing a lot about turnaround schools and receivership - what are your views on this and how BPS is serving its students?
- How do you plan to engage and collaborate with educators and families?
Including educator perspectives is crucial for selecting a Superintendent. Above all, the educators we spoke to believe the next Superintendent can build trust with the community through consistent and authentic communication and collaboration. E4E-Boston hopes that this information is helpful as you undertake this important search, and thanks you for your efforts to find a leader for the next chapter of BPS.