Kudos to Douglas County School District Board of Education Director Judi Reynolds for taking the initiative to draft a policy to standardize and make more transparent the school board director appointment process.
During candidate interviews for District F Director the BOE seemed to be “winging it,” and following final interviews also failed to publicly discuss their criteria for selecting the candidate they appointed.
This leaves one to wonder if any thoughtful criteria informed the process. Given the obviously pro-board choice made, it appears that the better representation of the broader community that many have been clamoring for was not one of them.
Of particular note was director James Geddes’ comment regarding what apparently were his own criteria: “I voted for the guy I thought would be most in line with my philosophy on things.”
His philosophy? Let us hope the good director misspoke, as to the extent his comment suggests that the primary criteria for selection should be that the candidate is willing to walk in lock-step with one’s own “philosophy” (regarding what “things”? So-called reform?), this raises serious concerns.
It suggests a fundamental, and in our democratic society, unacceptable misunderstanding of the public school board of education mandate that the board act in good faith as representatives of the local community, even those who don’t necessarily support reform.
In view of the long-standing controversy regarding BOE governance style (among other things), it seems likely Dr. Geddes is not alone in that misunderstanding. Certainly the selection that evening – by a 4 to 2 margin with directors Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn voting against – of self-avowed “reform” enthusiast Rich Robbins (the first and only candidate nominated), would seem to suggest that.
If so, Ms. Reynolds might be wise to take these concerns to heart as well when developing her policy draft.
Sheldon J. Potter