Archive for Friday, August 29, 2008

Board seeks next district superintendent with ‘proven skills’

August 29, 2008


Weseman announces retirement

Superintendent Randy Weseman and school board President Craig Grant talk about Weseman's decision to retire and some of his accomplishments in his 33 years in Lawrence Public Schools. Enlarge video

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As Lawrence school board members prepare to find a replacement for Superintendent Randy Weseman, who announced his retirement Thursday, they know their work is cut out for them.

Weseman will have served nine years as superintendent by the time he leaves office June 30, and school board president Craig Grant said Weseman's intimate knowledge of the community, drawn from 33 years in the district, will be tough to replace.

"We're going to need to make sure that the next person understands the size of the district we have, understands the problems this district has as it relates to the growth of the students," he said.

"We need someone who is going to continue the efforts the board has been making in terms of academic achievement," said board member John Mitchell. "I think we need someone who really has proven skills in the business-management side of running a school district. We want someone who will be willing to learn about our community and our district and work with us, rather than come in with a pre-set blueprint."

Grant said the board would conduct a national search for the next superintendent and would consider hiring a consultant to find the best fit. The last time the district conducted a national search was for Weseman's predecessor, Kathleen Williams, who served from 1998 to 2000.

While current school district employees may be considered, Grant said he did not expect Weseman's replacement to come from within the district.

Mitchell said the board shouldn't rule out any applicants. He wasn't sure whether anyone in the district was interested in the position.

"If there are folks within the district who have an interest, they'll let us know," he said.

Just where the school board will find money to retain a consultant is up in the air. Discussions are preliminary, and board members have yet to hash out a plan regarding the expenses of searching for Weseman's replacement. Mitchell said the funds could come from next year's budget.

"We'll find the money within our budget. We've got to do that," he said. "I'm sure we'll build a contingency in for paying for that kind of service."

Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent, said there could be disadvantages to hiring an outside candidate who is unfamiliar with the district. But, he said, there is value in new ideas.

Passman, who could be considered for the post, said he would work with the school board to ensure a seamless hand-off.

"I have an interest in making sure the transition is smooth and helping make sure the school board can make that transition any way I can," he said.

Former school board member Leonard Ortiz said candidates both inside the district and beyond should be considered.

"There are advantages to both. There are people who are familiar and people who bring an outside perspective," said Ortiz, who served on the school board from 2003 to 2007. "You've got to do what's best for the kids."


hammer1 9 years, 6 months ago

And, Randy. If you can remember , in your class, when you had your feet up on your desk at Central J.H.S. and threw your chalkboard eraser at some kid who was asking a question to another pupil for help - while YOU were too busy with your newspaper - did that help anyone? - You got lucky after all. Now , please leave.

hammer1 9 years, 6 months ago

I was a student in one of Randy's classes in 9th grade at Central Junior High School in 1980-81. I also played football for him when he was assistant coach at Central J.H. under a great guy named John Saunders (deceased).Randy always used to "drop" his Vietnam Vet B.S to us in class and on the field, which I always felt was inappropriate as a son of a WWII veteran and brother of a Vietnam veteran. It made me feel like Randy was probably a cook in the Navy. I am sure he will tell you he is a Marine - HOORAH - I doubt it if he did even half a tour. But I will say that he sure did pull one over on the city and taxpayers of Lawrence. - The most unqualified and overpaid man for the job.Did anyone ever even check this joker out?Don Bens(sp) could have done a better job,and I bet he would have done it for almost free. Or Mr. Charles (Chuck) Holly (sp) - a great teacher and coach - nothing that Randy could aspire to be because Randy had not the same character. It was, and has been, all about him -to him.Good riddance to a guy, Randy, that thought bringing his guitar into class at the end of the semester and singing hippy songs from a world that he thought that he was really from (while he probably was in favor of burning the American flag) would make a difference to us, his pupils.Thanks, Randy. You got your money and duped a lot of people. Now just leave, please.

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