Thursday, February 22, 2018

Breaking News: Six Day Notice Posted. Dr. Hector Garcia to be Approved as New Superintendent on 2/26/18

The Six Day notice was published yesterday, can be accessed at the following link and identifies Dr. Hector Garcia as the candidate who will be approved by the BOE at the February 26, 2018 Regular Board Meeting:  Six Day Notice.  

The notice provides Dr. Garcia's proposed salary and benefits for the next 3 years (which we will comment on below). In addition, Dr. Garcia's Resume can be accessed at the following link: Dr. Garcia's Resume. We found the notice within the Salary/Benefits Tab within the Financial Reports Tab within the Department of Business and Operations tab. Not easily found, but at least it was posted. We assume it must have been posted late Monday night following the Special Board Meeting.

So what is our initial impression of Dr. Garcia's candidacy?  We begin by saying BRAVO to the BOE!  

In order to write this post, we reviewed Dr. Garcia's resume and conducted some online due diligence. As we conducted our research, our optimism and excitement surrounding Dr. Garcia grew. We are impressed with Dr. Garcia's background,  credentials, work experience and reputation in the communities he has worked.  It is our hopeful opinion that with his knowledge base Dr. Garcia may be exactly what D181 needs right now to steer the district back on course.

We, the bloggers, have always taken the position that D181 is not a starter district for administrators. We believe that administrators, especially those in the central office, must come to our district with wide-ranging experience and not have to learn how to do their job after arriving here. We hoped the BOE would identify and hire a superintendent with a background and experience in Curriculum, especially after years of curriculum turmoil in our district. We hoped the person would have high school experience, in order to be able to understand the importance of articulation with the high school D181's chidren will attend. We also hoped that the new superintenent would have experience in finance and human resources, in order to be able to jump right in to tackle the fiscal problems D181 is currently facing and assist the BOE in negotiating a fiscally responsible teachers' contract.  Finally we hoped that the new superintendent would have work experience in high achieving districts similar to D181.

In Dr. Garcia, the BOE may have hit a home run.  

He has over 22 years of educational experience in grades K through Grade 12. He has systematically worked his way to the top job in the central office -- a superintendent -- after working as a teacher. Assistant Dean of Students, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Director of Educational Services, Principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services (Teaching and Learning), and the last 5 1/2 years as a superintendent. 

Dr. Garcia is currently the superintendent of a diverse (both racially and socio-economically) K-12 district -- Plano District 88 in Illinois -- with approximately 2400 students.  Dr. Garcia was approved as the Plano Superintendent in 2012 and in 2016 his contract was extended for an additional 5 years.  With a much smaller budget that D181's in Plano, it appears Dr. Garcia has worn many hats.  Unlike D181 which has many levels of Assistant Superintendents for various departments, Plano, does not have Assistant Superintendent positions, rather only has a Director for Teaching and Learning and a Director of Assessment. Dr. Garcia appears to be in charge of the finance department and human resource department, and he is currently completing a CSBO endorsement (Chief School Business Official).  (Sources: Plano District 88 2016 State Report CardPlano District 88 websiteDr. Garcia's Resume,  3/17/16 Kendall County Now article.

Prior to his hire as Plano's superintendent, Dr. Garcia worked in high achieving districts and schools such as Glen Ellyn District 87 and Adlai E. Stevenson High School, in particular as a curriculum administrator.  (Source:  Dr. Garcia's Resume.) 

As one news article stated:  "His educational experiences range from working in a predominantly low-income, minority setting to one of the most affluent and high-performing schools, Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire."  (Source:  1/30/12 ValleyLife Press article.)

One gets a sense of who Dr. Garcia is in reading his Superintendent's message on the Plano District 88 website, which states in part:

"My passion for education stems from not only my work in schools for over two decades but also witnessing firsthand how difficult it is to raise kids in a challenging era. As a husband and father of four young children, I too know how challenging it is to raise kids with various strengths and weaknesses in school even with two educators at home! ...
As an educator, I have had the privilege to see and experience the power of school systems that work as a collaborative team and have student learning as their essential mission and goal. During my time in schools, I have been a teacher, high school principal and a district administrator in struggling as well as highly successful school districts. I have had the honor of leading and contributing to the work of outstanding educators as we developed a school system that has been recognized at the local, state, and national level.
I look forward to building upon the great work that has been done throughout the district in the past. I am always available to speak with parents and students and gain insight and perspective on the recent accomplishments, as well as the challenges that we face in the future. Please call me ..., so we can find a common time to meet and sit down for a cup of coffee.
The ultimate goal of our work together is to continue to foster greater levels of collaboration for the benefit of our students. Thank you for your support!"  (Source:  Plano District 88 website.)
Turning next to Dr. Garcia's compensation package, according to the Six Day Notice, he will have a 3 year contract and his starting base salary will be $235,000.  In years 2 and 3 of his contract, he will get a raise, the equivalent  CPI up to a maximum of 3%.  This means at most his base salary in Years 2 and 3 will be $242,050 and $249 311.50.  In addition, each year, he is incentivized to meet his performance goals in order to annual bonuses of up to $15,000.  
While these numbers seem high, we compared them to what Dr. Garcia is currently making in Plano, a much less affluent and smaller district than D181.  Under the terms of his contract in Plano, Dr. Garcia will earn $196,070 in 2017-2018; $205,873 in 2018-2019; $216,166 in 2019-2020; and $226,974 in 2020-2021. (Source:  3/18/2016 WSPY news article,)
Comparing Dr. Garcia's base salary to Dr. White's current contract, Dr. White's base salary for the 2016-2017 school year was $239,527.31 with the same annual guaranteed increase in base salary as Dr. Garcia will receive. (Source:  Dr. White's Current Contract.)  So Dr. Garcia's guaranteed base income is less than Dr. White's was 1 years ago.  
While some may criticize Dr. Garcia's salary as being high, the question we must all ask ourselves is"did we really think D181 could get an experienced, well rounded, yet cheap superintendent to come in and fix the district's mess,"  especially one with experience and working knowledge in all the different departments he will be overseeing and who currently has a five year contract?  
The answer to that question is an obvious NO.  D181 is currently in a mess.  It will be a challenge for any new superintendent to come in and fix the mess.  In order to attract a highly qualified and experienced superintendent and expect him to leave a job where he was given a 5 year extension requires paying top dollar.  We may not like it, but that is the reality of the situation D181 finds itself in.
We are excited at the prospect that maybe this time the BOE has gotten it right.  We are encouraged by the fact that Dr. Garcia is experienced, especially in the area of curriculum, and obviously has been successful in his current district, gaining the trust of a board that has awarded him with a 5 year contract extension.  We have never heard of any superintendent getting that length of an extension.  
We are looking forward to Dr. Garcia being formally approved on February 26. We hope the BOE will invite the community to a reception at which we can all meet him.  Dr. Garcia will face many challenges in getting D181 back on track.The first will be working with the BOE to hire an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum. We think there are also a couple principals retiring this year so Dr. Garcia will have to work with the BOE to hire their replacements. He will also have to help solve the fiscal problems D181 is facing and assist the BOE in negotiating a fiscally responsible teachers' contract . We hope he will be welcomed by all in our community -- staff, parents, community members, students -- and allowed some time to sort through the mess and create a plan to address the curriculum issues, special education issues, capital needs issues and financial issues. 
Of course, time will tell how successful Dr Garcia is as D181's superintendent.  For the sake of all of our children's education, we truly hope he will be and we sincerely wish Dr. Garcia good luck as D181's next superintendent.


Susan Kason said...

Bravo indeed! This is the best news about this district I’ve heard since I moved here 11 years ago from one of the best schools in the state. Stevenson High School is so highly ranked that we should be blessing our stars we have a strong candidate with this background. Ditto for his Glen Ellyn experience and his background as an existing superintendent. I also applaud the board for nominating a person of color for this position. Our community needs more diversity from the top. If you bothers to take a look in the classrooms, even at a school like Monroe, you will see a growing diverse student body. It’s 2018, people. We need to catch up with the real world. Your children deserve the best. I am begging the school board to approve Dr. Garcia’s nomination. You’ll be hearing from me more about this.

Parent of 3 said...

I echo Susan Kason's sentiments. Good Job BOE. Could it be that the board of education has finally done its job and selected a person to run our district that has the experience and credentials to do the job well? I have been following the blog for about six months and checking each day to see if anything was announced. Thank you to the bloggers for being our watch dogs and keeping us informed. I must admit that I am a little disappointed in the BOE for basically burying the announcement on the district website, but perhaps they did it because they know that there will be people in the community who will attack the candidate no matter who he/she is. I agree with the bloggers that everyone in the district should rally around this hire and give him a chance to work with the BOE and fix all the messes that he will face, none of which he created. One that the bloggers didn't list was BOE dysfunction. Hopefully with this hire, the BOE will finally come together and learn how to work with each other and with the superintendent in a collaborative and respectful fashion. While I understand the tension created between the board and Dr. White caused by his lack of transparency and inability to give the BOE information they needed to make informed decisions, It has still been all too painful to listen to podcasts and here the venom and animosity towards each other. And maybe even Mr. Turek will start paying attention and take the time to learn and understand issues before grandstanding for his own benefit. I hope with Dr. Garcia's hire that the district finally turns a corner and becomes the beacon district it once was. Good Luck Dr. Garcia. This is one community member who plans to support you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am impressed. Looks like Dr. Garcia is exactly what D181 needs at this moment in time. He has done all the right stuff, slowly moving his way up the administrative ladder, working in a variety of K-12 districts and learning how to be a good leader. The fact that he is coming from a different district than D181 doesn't bother me in the least, since he has learned in a smaller, less prestigious district how to be a good superintendent and now he is ready to take the next step. I can't imagine his board would renew him for five years if they weren't impressed with his performance. I actually feel bad for them that he will be leaving them. Looks like he will be a tough act to follow. What I like the best is that Dr. Garcia has a strong curriculum background and knows district finances. It is doubtful that he will be naively swayed by certain D181 staff/adminsitrators/teachers to ignore the fiscal reality of a district in debt -- a debt caused by administrative neglect. He has a tough road to go down to fix the problems and he may not be liked by all, since jobs and other things may need to be cut on his watch. But as a taxpayer I look forward to seeing him navigate this mess and hopefull fix it.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have friends or family that have worked in his former districts, or children gone through them? Resumes can only tell us so much.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a resume can only tell us so much. I also agree that friends/family from his former districts can only give us one opinion. What I do feel speaks volumes is that this new candidate has a strong mix of identifiable and confirmed experience at all levels of academia and leadership--curriculum and instruction, K-12 districts; K-8 districts; as a principal; as a leader in human resources and finance; the list goes on. I think it is a strong step forward that this prospective leader has a 360 view of the Office of the Superintendent and familiarity in all jobs that make up this office. This is not a novel idea and yet one that has been foreign to D 181.

I also think that it is an excellent step forward to recruit for diversity in a community that has seen a greater number of minority students in the last 5 years and represents feeder schools to a greater diverse class population headed to Hinsdale Central. This is exciting to see.

But ultimately, the job is great, the responsibilities growing, and the tasks charged ahead are numerous for the new Superintendent. I am optimistic but the proof is in the months and year to follow. That said, this is a strong candidate with applicable work history and experience. As the bloggers indicated earlier in a post, google searches tell us this candidate is articulate, well received, positive for impactful change, and a leader in his previous districts. More than I can say for what's been going on here the last several years with our lack of leadership.

On his own merit, this candidate stands for positive change. I'm optimistic. Good work, BOE!

Concerned D181 Resident said...

I have a few comments:

First, I agree Dr. Garcia seems like a good choice for superintendent. I hope he is given a chance to succeed.

9:44's comment sounds negative. I am sure in any district, every single teacher or administrator will have someone in the community who has something negative to say. I hope the bloggers do not start publishing negative comments on the new superintendent unless they are fact based. Just like the bloggers always cite their sources, we hope the bloggers won't fall prey to naysayers who might have their own personal agendas in trying to set Dr. Garcia up for failure.

Finally, will this blog give Dr. Garcia the same chance they gave Dr. White? I would remind you that back in August 14, you published a post called The Final Curtain. In it you said "we will cease our posts to allow the new superintendent, Dr. White, to begin his work to hopefully quickly address the numerous issues this district faces, and to do so without scrutinizing his every move. Dr. White deserves an opportunity to get to know the district – from staff to students to parents to other community advocates – and to both identify and implement needed changes that will bring D181 back to a state of excellence."

Please give Dr. Garcia the same fighting chance to get to work and hopefully be the first successful superintendent D181 has had since interim superintendent Dr. Sabatino. He deserves a chance to get to work without a drumbeat of negativity. We hope you respond to this question.

The Parents said...

10:41: We didn't want to waste a second before responding to your concerns. We agree with you and 10:33 wholeheartedly. We will not post negative comments that are simply negative "opinions" about a person who hasn't even started working in our district. We have confidence that the BOE has chosen a good candidate. This is the same board that plowed through thousands of documents during the accountability committee's work and found the smoking gun that led to White's mutual termination agreement. I doubt very much that they didn't do their homework on the incoming superintendent. No doubt they spent alot of time making sure he would pass muster when announced as their candidate. And YES. We will be standing down. We will wait until after Dr. Garcia is formally approved next week and then post any press release the BOE may publish, along with links to the press coverage his hire will generate. We look forward to hearing Dr. Garcia's first comments after he is approved. We will then shut down the comments on the blog. You are right, that we need to give him a chance to get to work without his every move being scrutinized. While some of us are relatively new to the administration of this blog, most of the bloggers' children are long gone from D181. We are exhausted from being the watchdogs and will be more than happy to go silent, again.

Anonymous said...

I don't think 9:44's comments are negative. To me they seem neutral. I am happy that someone new is coming in. But if he is competent, his decisions won't be overwhelmingly criticized. White, Schuster, Scheider and other administrator's actions in this district were slammed because of their pattern of repetitious negligence. They all had a honeymoon period. Mrs. Gallt's decisions were never negatively scrutinized because she did such a great job. All of the above comments are positive or neutral. If this new person is good, there is no reason for people here to continue to rave about Dr. Garcia.

Jill Quinones said...

Although my 3 children are finished with D181, we are still members of the community and I am thrilled to see the depth and breadth of experience that Dr. Garcia has. I urge the BOE to approve Dr. Garcia unanimously and all stakeholders move forward in working together to provide the best education to our students balanced against reasonableness to the taxpayer.

It appears Dr. Garcia is well versed in almost all of the components that comprise a Superintendency. I only hope that once he gets settled in and up to speed on the strengths and weaknesses of the District that he can take the time to honestly appraise each and every Central Administration position and make it part of his 5 year plan to streamline as much as possible. It has always been discussed that D181 is top heavy with Central Administration compared to other comparable Districts, but I have never seen a thoughtful analysis by someone who has held many of these positions and knows what should and should not be expected.

It would be great to have some stability at the top. My fingers are crossed.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to Dr. Garcia!
But I do not want the blog to go silent. As a parent in the district, I feel alienated by the district. The blog makes me feel like part of a community while D181 tells me that I am the only one who is dissatisfied.

Dr. Michael Bradley talked about how our kids lack connection... I think D181 lacks connection. Where D181 had several monthly programs with open conversation, we now have a speaker series that draw crowds, but do not create community. D181 removed so many outreach programs: SELAS, Special Ed Parent Group, coffees with the superintendent, parent liaisons, Parent University, etc — and there are fewer hands-on opportunities for parents in our schools. D181 admin are not as visible as in the past. I used to know all of them personally (so did my kids), now I couldn't even tell you their names.

D181 needs to be held Accountable... this blog provides a balanced assessment of the comings and goings in D181. The blog stepped up so the community was heard. Thank you for your commitment and contribution — you shine a light in the darkness.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be quite a difference in test scores between D181 and Plano district 88 where Dr. Garcia is coming from. Is this really the best person to be our new surperintendent? This blog is hurting our children since good people don't want to come here. It is surprising to read some of the comments supporting this hire when bloggers have stated we need someone from a like district.
For Plano
For D181

Also looks like Ms. Hanrahan and Dr. Garcia worked together at Glenbard and moved to Plano 88. Hopefully Dr. Garcia will continue to support the programs a community like ours needs and we will not see a move back to learning for all. We don't need more people to leave or be pushed out.

Anonymous said...

11:03 I have no idea what you are talking about. Plano has different demographics, so of course their scores will be different! It sounds like he has made do at Plano with very little resources which is to be applauded. Also he has extensive administrative curriculum experience at high achieving districts - something this district desperately needs. As the blog has said, we are not a starter district!! We want admin to go to lesser districts to learn on the job and then bring their expertise here. Also your comment about Ms Henrahan makes no sense. She started here after learning for all was dismantled and was part of establishing ability grouping and the math tiers. It is very dangerous to throw out unfounded accusations. There is nothing in Dr. Garcia’s resume to suggest that he would support learning for all. Do you want him to fail before he starts? Your comment sounds like it. We should all hope he succeeds because from my parent view our district is in pretty dire shape and could not withstand another failed superintendent.

Anonymous said...

11:38 spot on!! And let’s get real - our scores have been artificially inflated for YEARS by outside tutoring and parent resources! And excuse me for having very little faith in the PARCC exam that disasvantages poor districts that can’t afford computers to take the assessment on and that can’t afford to buy new resources to teach to the test. A test, by the way, that all but 6 states has dropped and will soon be changing in Illinois.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:38 and 11:59. The fact that Dr. Garcia comes to us from Plano is irrelevant. It might have mattered if he didn't have any past experience in high achieving districts or in curriculum but he does. Research Adlai Stevenson high school! Let's face facts. The last good superintendent (full time) that D181 had was Mary Curley. She was here for 7 years and then was run out by a BOE that wanted to revamp the SPED department. They brought in Mr. 21st century Tenbusch and he lasted less than 12 months. Google him and you'll be shocked to read what he's been up to since leaving D181. Then came a 2 year interim who did a good job, but just worked part time and basically the district was just treading water on his watch. Next came "don't smell any mold in HMS" Schuster who actually came from a very high achieving district in Missouri. She hired Mr. Social Justice/Learning for All Schneider. Next came White who promoted Schneider to run the entire curriculum dept. Anyone who had kids in the district during the last 8 years knows the damage that was caused. And our test scores went down, not up. What I care about is that the new leader is honest, transparent and will have integrity. I want someone who will work with the board and tell them all the facts when asking them to make decisions, especially when it comes to spending our tax dollars. And as for 11:03's suggestion that people dont want to come to our district because of the blog, that is a crock. The blog didn't run the district and make all the bad decisions. The past administrators did. And anyway, according to the search firm, there were 30 candidates. So at least 30 people were willing to apply for the job. If there hadn't been a good candidate in the lot, I have confidence that the board members who finally found the evidence needed to cut the current superintendent loose, would not hire a bad candidate to replace him, and would have gone through a second search round if necessary. I too say BRAVO to the board for presenting Dr. Garcia as their candidate. I hope the vote is unanimous and he is given a chance to do his job -- a job that will be very difficult thanks to the mess he is inheriting.

Let the Sun Shine! said...

Why is anyone raining on what should be a sunny day? Thank goodness the BOE has named their pick for the new superintendent. I can't wait for June 30 to come so White can finally exit and Dr. Garcia take over. The district is in a horrible position after years of neglect. I've googled Dr. Garcia and I feel that he should be given a chance to succeed. I'm glad most of the comments are positive and welcoming him.

Anonymous said...

We all hope that Dr. Garcia will be successful in D181 and is up to the challenge of his new position. We certainly need some competence and stability in the Superintendent's office.

While, I agree with 2/23-12:29 that it has been a long while since D181 has had a quality Superintendent, I don't agree with the statement that Dr. Garcia being from Plano is irrelevant. Plano (CUSD-88) couldn't be more different that Hinsdale. Plano students are 55% minority (Hispanic or African American) and 60% are classified as low income. Plano High School students score an average ACT of 19 (versus 27 in Hinsdale) and only 25% meet or exceed state standards; only 31% are deemed ready for college course work.

So make no mistake about it. Dr. Garcia's experience as a Superintendent in Plano may not be the ideal training ground for a high performing district such as D181. He may have worked briefly at Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, but that was 20 years ago and he was only a Dean.

Certainly one would expect the demographics of Plano to yield lower test scores as compared to Hinsdale; however, no one seems to be focusing on the fact that D88 standardized test scores SIGNIFICANTLY declined during Dr. Garcia's tenure as Superintendent. In the 2011-2012 school year, the overall ISAT score for D88 was in the 75th percentile. Dr. Garcia arrived in 2012. After two years, for the 2013-2014 school year the District's overall ISAT score had dropped to the 52nd percentile . . . a decrease of 31%! (ISAT was subsequently discontinued in favor of the PARCC test) -- hardly a stellar performance which would never fly in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills. Not sure it warrants a three year contract and a huge pay day.

I hope Dr. Garcia can adapt to the totally different environment he will face in Hinsdale. I also hope the D181 community can understand that he will have a substantial learning curve. Dr. Garca will need to take the time to fully comprehend D181 students, teachers and stakeholders before making any drastic changes. That said, high performance and the ability to deliver outstanding academic results will ultimately determine his future. Time will tell.

(The foregoing facts - not opinions - are derived from annual Illinois School Report Cards for CUSD-88, which are available online.)

The Parents said...

Part 1:

We appreciate the stated concerns of 12:22, but it strikes us that he/she is someone searching for the fabled purple unicorn. In our opinion, Dr Garcia checks every single box imaginable except one. He has experience working in high performing districts, has served in a variety of central office roles including curriculum, has extensive service as an actual superintendent and is in good standing with his current district. He is also from Illinois, unlike one of our past hires who came to D181 from a very high performing Missouri school district after only 3 years as a superintendent. And we all know how that worked out for D181's children.

Unlike past hires, Dr. Garcia does not have any red flags. 12:22 suggests that he is missing one box to be checked, that despite education, curriculum experience, central office experience, positive reviews in his current job, he is not currently working in a high performing district. So 12:22 would like, and I guess everyone would, a candidate who not only has the requisite experience, and is currently in good standing, but in good standing at a top school district. In other words, we should hold out until we can poach a high performing superintendent from a high performing district who is looking to move districts within Illinois. The purple unicorn. The yet to be sighted rarest of all superintendent species.

Did such a purple unicorn apply to run our district? I guess only the board knows. And if he/she did, perhaps the board should have offered him/her the job. But even if he/she had applied and received an offer, would any such purple unicorn leave, say Wilmette or Winnetka or Kenilworth to come to Hinsdale? We doubt it.

And even 12:22's complaint is misguided. We do not think that superintendents are ultimately responsible for the test scores in their district, measured against the population, especially in their first 2 years on the job AND certainly not over the last 5 years when all districts were tasked with implementing the more rigorous common core standards and then changing from the ISAT tests to the more rigorous PARCC test (a test which is going to be eliminated in Illinois after only a couple of years). Even in our district, for example, one of the wealthiest districts in the entire country, test scores dropped dramatically under the Schuster/Schneider/White regimes. (Of course, we know that more was in play in D181 than implementing Common Core standards -- since the past administration tried the failed Learning For All social justice experiment where everyone was accelerated one full year in math -- leading to students in crisis all across the board). In our opinion, it is not fair to blame Dr. Garcia for a drop in test scores in his first two years as superintendent of Plano, a district that due to its demographics does not have families with the financial abilities to hire private tutors and provide extracurriculur enrichments to help struggling students.

The Parents said...

Part 2:

However, if one wants to scrutinize test scores, then 12:22 is remiss in ignoring his achievements as a Central Office curriculum leader in the high achieving district he worked in prior to becoming Plano's superintendent. We encourage our readers to CLOSELY read Dr. Garcia's resume which is on this blog AND posted on Board docs for tonight's meeting. It shows how in Glenbard, on his watch as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services he led the redesign of a more rigorous curriculum for all students resulting in an increase in AP enrollment (36%), test takers (54%), and tests taken (43%) over a two-year period. Further AP enrollment for African-American and Latino increased by 80% and 100% respectively. Three Glenbard schools posted the highest composite ACT of all time in 2011.

It is always easy to pick and choose what "data" to focus on, isn't it?

In our opinion, 12:22 has it all backwards. The test score drop in Dr. Garcia's first 2 years in Plano cannot be blamed on him. The reality is that Dr. Garcia has been an exceptional superintendent to the point that he has earned the full confidence of the Plano BOE who exended his initial 3 year contract an additional 5 years. 12:22 cries foul at the 3 year contract D181 is giving Dr. Garcia. But a three year contract is the NORM in all school districts. To offer him less than that in light of his strong record would have been beyond insulting and we cannot imagine any candidate agreeing to leave a secure 5 year position for a 2 years or less contract.

As far as we know, the long standing and well paid superintendents in Illinois' top school districts did not apply to come here. Nor do we want a Schuster repeat, a superintendent who did not know Illinois and brought onboard a SPED administratorto revolutionize D181's entire curriculum, morphing it into an unrecognizable social justice for all mess. Nor do we want a superintendent to be hired, as White was, with no curriculum background.

Instead, the D181 BOE has identified someone who, other than not moving here from a North Shore equivalent district, checks every possible box. So unless 12:22 has information that a top superintendent from a top district wants to come right the ship here, then he/she, along with everyone else in D181 should WELCOME DR.GARCIA WITH OPEN ARMS.

Anonymous said...

Is their anything wrong, Ms Blogger? Do you plan on posting the comment I submitted more than 12 hours ago?

Or does my post contain too many ideas and arguments that you don't agree with? Perhaps you are running it by your friends on the Board to figure out how to best respond?

If you are true to your word and if this blog is what it purports to be, then you will have the guts to post my comments (which are in no way "ad hominem attacks"). If not, then we will all know that you are just running operating a platform to espouse your own ideas and those of whom agree with you.

The Parents said...

12:55– We, the bloggers, have not received any comments submitted to us in the last 24 hours. We know in the past others have had technical difficulties if they have attempted to post using their cell phones. Please resubmit and if we receive it and it meets our guidelines we will publish it.

The Parents said...

We just want to follow up on our 1:10 comment to 12:55. We haven't received any comments since the one you posted at 12:55, so we are not sure if you have tried reposting the comment that you claim we refused to publish, but that we never received.

Anonymous said...

In response to the Blogger’s (or the “Parents”) lengthy reply to the comment I posted at 12:22 a.m. on 2/26:
No, I am not searching for a “purple unicorn” (a rather trite and somewhat snarky analogy, BTW) . . . I am searching for a solid Superintendent who will finally bring some administrative stability and managerial competence to D181. While I hope that Dr. Hector Garcia can and will do this, I will save my praise until I see his actual performance. Only time will tell.
The Blogger and other like-minded posters seem absolutely giddy over the choice of Dr. Garcia and have loudly and proudly endorsed him, serving as overly-enthusiastic cheerleaders of the Board’s decision. The Blogger’s scorn, however, is directed at those who may have a different, or at least more circumspect, opinion.
Kindly permit me to inject a little reality into all the effusive endorsements of Dr. Garcia: I have seen the past four or five Superintendents arrive as the newly anointed leaders of D181 with similar hoopla and fanfare . . . and none of them have lasted more than a few years. (I believe one didn’t even last a year.) Face it, previous Boards have done a stunningly poor job of hiring new Superintendents. (Perhaps even worse was the decision of the members of the prior Board – four of whom are still serving on this Board -- to renew Don White’s contract for an additional four years only weeks before their terms expired.) So you will have to pardon me if I am a tad skeptical about the BOE’s judgment and don’t get all excited over their latest hire .
Hopefully, the D181 Board made a smart purchase this time and finally acquired a quality product that really works when you take it out of the box (notwithstanding all the “post-purchase reinforcement” by the Blogger). But spare me the sales pitches, celebrity endorsements and press releases. Only time will tell if Dr. Garcia was a prudent purchase by D181.
The Blogger’s rebuttal to my prior post do not change the fact that Dr. Garcia may not be quite as perfect for D181 as all the unquestioning admirers assume. In my opinion, there are still some unanswered questions and unaddressed issues that should not be ignored going forward :
1.) D88-Plano could not be any more different than D181. Dr. Garcia will have a completely different mission in D181 than he did in the high minority / low income community of D-88. He may have been the smartest guy in the room in Plano, but he won’t be in Hinsdale/Clarendon Hills. Is he really a good fit for the high-performing students of D181 and the high expectations of their parents? Prior superintendent experience can be overrated if it does not come from a comparable district. The inherent quality of the candidate and the quality of his experience in a similar district is more important than whether the candidate has prior “Sup” experience. Plano just ain’t Hinsdale/CH. Hopefully, the Board is not attempting to fit a square peg into a round whole. Only time will tell.
2.) Despite the array of excuses offered up by the Blogger, Dr. Garcia cannot escape accountability for the 34% decrease in Plano’s overall, district wide ISAT scores. (“Accountability” is a popular term on this webpage but apparently only when it suits the Blogger’s agenda.) This significant decline is not a statistical fluke – Plano’s declining test results are based on the same ISAT measuring stick applied to the same overall student population in the same school district in the same community. Indeed, given the fact that D-88 students had so much room for improvement when Dr. Garcia took over the reins, it is rather surprising that D-88’s standardized test scores did not improve over this two-year period. I beg to differ with the Blogger who states that two years is too little time to make one’s mark. (What is the magic number for “accountability?” Three years? Five? Ten?)

Anonymous said...

In response to the Blogger’s (or the “Parents”) lengthy reply to the comment I posted at 12:22 a.m. on 2/26:

It might be unreasonable to expect a dramatic improvement in across-the-board test results in two years, but one would certainly not expect to see the bottom fall out either. But it did. Sorry, Hector owns this. Where I come from, if you’re in charge, you’re responsible for results - good or bad. Period. That’s “Accountability.” Period.
3.) Dr. Garcia’s resume posted on the D181 website seems bereft of any hard evidence of significant results achieved in District 88 over the past five years. Plenty of important responsibilities and duties are listed (which any Superintendent could claim), but measurable, quantifiable improvements in Plano? Not so much. Dr. Garcia’s Plano record seems long on process, short on results; however, he does list “strong union support” in D88 as one of his attributes. I wonder if this support was gained at the expense of Plano taxpayers?
4.) Dr. Garcia’s resume also details extensive activities in support of “Professional Learning Communities.” PLC’s have been criticized by some as a costly, over-hyped educational fad . . . especially when driven only from the top down. Dr. Garcia has co-authored a book about PLCs (published by Solution Tree Press), has given presentations across the country about PLCs (presumably for pay) and is a “Solution Tree Associate” who trains teachers and administrators about PLCs (presumably for pay). Apparently, Dr. Garcia devotes quite a bit of time to these outside endeavors and receives compensation from Solution Tree, a private, for-profit company. 100% of Dr. Garcia’s focus should be dedicated to the students of D181 rather than on outside consulting or burnishing his self-proclaimed “national” reputation. D181 would be well-advised to have strong conflict-of-interest policies in place and avoid expensive “Solutions” for problems that don’t exist in the our district.

Is Dr. Garcia the “home run” that the Blogger claims? Let’s certainly hope so. It would be in the best interests of our children, our community and our property values for Hector Garcia to succeed. I genuinely hope that he does, but only time will tell.

Admittedly, neither the Blogger, the undersigned, nor anyone else outside of the Board’s executive sessions has the full picture underlying the decision to hire Dr. Garcia. Even if we did, an outside hire inevitably involves a leap of faith and boils down to a gut decision. We will never know who the other candidates were, what visions they articulated, how they interviewed or what transpired in the Board room. Under normal circumstances, I would simply trust the decision of the Board acting as the duly elected representatives of the D181 community. But given how badly and repeatedly prior Boards have screwed up the selection of new Superintendents, I reserve judgment. Is Dr. Garcia a good fit for D181? Time will tell.

Dr. Garcia’s qualifications are certainly not beyond question. My comments are intended to provide a healthy counterpoint to the gushing praise that is being heaped upon the Board by the Blogger (the Board couldn’t have written it better themselves) and other cheerleaders whom have posted on this page. It all seems a little too much, a little too contrived and a little too coordinated. I, for one, am not quite ready to break into a chorus of “Kumbaya” in the warm afterglow of the Board’s press release touting the hiring of Hector Garcia.

In reply to the Blogger, I do agree that D181 should welcome Dr. Garcia with open arms . . . but let’s not do it with closed eyes.

This will be my last post on this subject since I don’t intend to engage in a protracted online debate in a less than neutral forum. Thank you for your consideration of my perspective.

Over and out, 12:22

The Parents said...

We, the bloggers, would like to briefly respond to the last 2 comments, posted by the same person who posted on 12/22 am on 2/26. We appreciate all perspectives and are glad you reposted what you previously accused us of failing to publish. As you can see, we aren't afraid to post comments that disagree with ours. That said, we have read your comments and find them to be extremely confrontational and loaded with so much negativity about the incoming superintendent, that we query whether you have a personal agenda in trying to bring him down before he even starts. Look, the bottom line is that yes, we, the bloggers, are excited. We have done our own due diligence and have not identified any red flags about Dr. Garcia as an educational leader. We are thrilled that Dr White is riding off into the sunset in just 3 months, because it is our opinion that Dr. White's administration has left the district on the edge of a financial cliff (which you will read more about in our next post). After more than 8 years of superintendents who used our kids as lab rats or who didn't present the BOE with needed information to approve responsible and sustainable budgets, we are jumping for joy that the incoming superintendent has worked his way the educational ladder -- not leap frogging or trying to skip steps on his way to the top as some past D181 administrators did -- AND that he has a curriculum background AND has worked in a diversity of districts, from poor to rich, from high achieving to underperforming. This breath of experience will serve our community well, especially now when it is faced with having to tighten its belt.

You are correct that past boards did not pick superintendents that proved themselves. But we believe that each person should be given a chance to succeed. Since the BOE voted unanimously to approve him, we believe it is safe to assume that the BOE has hope and confidence that he will be successful.

In your comments you suggest that Dr. Garcia may not be the "right fit for a high achieving district." You further state: "The inherent quality of the candidate and the quality of his experience in a similar district is more important than whether the candidate has prior “Sup” experience." Do you have any reserach to back up this claim or is it just your opinion, and if so, what is your opinion based on? You are quick to ignore Dr. Garcia's accomplishments over the last 25+ years as an educator, and frankly, we begin to wonder if all your references to him not being the right fit may be motivated by your personal beliefs in what a superindent in Hinsdale should "look like." We certainly hope not, because all the D181 parents we have spoken to since his candidacy was announced are looking forward to having more diversity in the central office and a leader who will bring more diverse perspectives to our bubble community.

You are correct that time will tell if the new superintendent succeeds. We hope that you will give him a chance to do his job and not judge him before he even gets started.