What a student wants in a school CEO

As we reported, the CEO for Baltimore City Public Schools, Andrés Alonso, stepped down last year, and the Board of Commissioners has been looking for a replacement. The student member of the board wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, here, that describes a few of the qualities he would like to see in the person chosen as the new CEO.

Cody L Dorsey, who represents on the board the voice of about 85,000 public school students, wrote that the next CEO for Baltimore City Public Schools must:

  • stand for equal opportunities for students across Baltimore
  • know the important role parents play
  • impress upon parents the need for students to be at school on time every day
  • send their own children to public schools
  • have lived in and truly connected with Baltimore
  • have managed a large school district
  • bring classroom experience to the job but not assume their way of teaching is best
  • fight with city leaders, as well as with the legislative delegation

This sounds good to me: it expresses high ideals along with some practical considerations. The idea of a CEO riding in on a white horse and rescuing schools is, I’m happy to say, fading out. Soon, people will come to the consensus, which we have known for some time, that making schools better requires teamwork involving three separate groups of people: the schools (including teachers, administrators, and other staff), the community (including parents, businesses, other governmental bodies, even religious organizations and concerned citizens), and the students.

Making schools more successful requires collaboration within and between each of these groups. It requires professionalism and an attitude that respects and understands the issues of the other groups and is interested in helping everyone succeed.

Change in the schools needs to be a steady course, whereas “superhero CEOs” fly by night. See a few examples from Texas, here.

Those who build and on whom people rely are known for their consistency, persistence, and dedication to some of the high ideals Mr Dorsey expressed: equality, a belief in the public schools, and a desire to do what is best for students and communities, not just for the schools. See our About page for more details.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.