Infighting within the New Haven Board of Education has further stalled the search for a new superintendent for New Haven Public Schools.
The Superintendent Search Committee held a meeting on Wednesday morning with key community stakeholders to attempt to solve disagreements and move forward with the search. However, this meeting, too, was marred by disagreement and did not resolve interboard tensions. In particular, former search committee chair Darnell Goldson clashed with other attendees, including BOE President Edward Joyner, on the process for choosing a new superintendent.
“All of this is crazy,” said Nijija-Ife Waters, president of the Citywide Parent Team, at the meeting in response to the arguments. “They say the fish rots at the head, and you guys are the heads. You guys need to figure out once and for all how you are going to come together.”
The presence of teacher and administrative leaders was one topic of contention as Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the search firm hired by the district, revealed the names and backgrounds of the district’s original pool of 46 applicants, as well as the five finalists that remained after one finalist dropped out. Members of the press were asked to leave the room during that part of the meeting.
Joyner and Goldson agreed at the meeting that stakeholders should be included, but Goldson said they could not be privy to the list of candidates on Wednesday, as the BOE has not formally voted to expand the search committee. Goldson left the meeting before the search committee went over the names, claiming that the process was illegal.
But attendees, including Waters, questioned why Goldson had not involved stakeholders during his tenure as chair.
A timeline created by the search committee, which says the process will be finished in October, was distributed at the start of the meeting, but Goldson later told the News he does not believe the timeline will be achievable for the district.
Goldson was upset he was left off of an email on Tuesday from Vice President Carlos Torre notifying the BOE members about the meeting. Goldson also insisted that there was not enough notice for the other members of the BOE to make time to attend the meeting.
Torre said he had typed another email address twice and had not realized Goldson was not included on the email.
Disagreements about the search process have unfolded over email over the past week.
On Sept. 16, Frank Redente sent an email to the other BOE members in which he highlighted his concerns about the search process, including that no New Haven candidates have made the final five recommended by the search firm. In the email, Redente said he would not cast a vote for superintendent if all qualified candidates from the New Haven public school system are not interviewed.
Randy Collins, lead consultant for the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, said Wednesday that the district can interview candidates that the search committee does not recommend, given that it is their superintendent.
Goldson also forwarded emails to the News that show arguments between him and Joyner. Joyner removed Goldson as committee chair earlier in the month, citing chronic absences from BOE meetings and meetings with community stakeholders. In an email on Sept. 19, he wrote to Goldson, “You are no longer the chair” in bolded letters. Goldson responded by saying Joyner’s leadership has been a “dismal failure.”
Former superintendent Reginald Mayo has been leading the district as interim-superintendent while the BOE selects a new superintendent.
Sara Tabin | firstname.lastname@example.org .