The contrast in Tacoma is stark and instructive. The City Council follows conventional wisdom and spends $50,000 on a ”headhunter” consulting firm to find a new city manager. On the other hand, the school board has opened an in-house application process for the next superintendent (TNT, 8-7).
Having witnessed the results of consultant-driven searches in another context, I applaud the school board for this decision. The chief advantage of headhunters is that they can make discreet inquiries for qualified candidates who would not want their current employers they are seeking another job. Consulting firms, however, often engage in back-door deals and horse-trading as they recommend candidates for various positions.
How refreshing and courageous for the board to decide to open the application procedure to current staffers. In my two years of involvement with Tacoma Public Schools I have been impressed with the passion and creativity of many staff members. This decision is a vote of confidence in their work.
We have much to do to make education better for our students. With this decision, the board stands in support of both its staff and the educational initiatives that have developed in the past few years in Tacoma.
What message does the City Council send to its staff?