Over the past number of weeks, the Kingsville Independent School District (KISD) has been wrestling with the important issue of picking a new superintendent of schools for the district. For some reason, they are having a hard time deciding amongst themselves as to what direction they want to take as a board.
Earlier this spring, they accepted the former superintendent’s resignation, then put her assistant in as interim superintendent. Then, after posting the superintendent vacancy on the district’s website for a couple of months, they decided to postpone the search “until further notice,” which was meant to table any action until after the May 2020 school board election.
But then the coronavirus delayed the school board election until November, and the board decided to name the interim superintendent as the lone finalist and offer her a contract. They then suddenly changed direction and decided to conduct a new search, but without rescinding the offer. After narrowly agreeing to conduct a new search, the board could not decide whether they should limit the search to 16 candidates or to open it up and start all over.
Last week, the motion was made to rescind naming the interim superintendent as the lone finalist, but failed in another split vote.
They are back at square one, and no one knows what they are going to do next. That is a shame and a dereliction of board leadership and duty.
It is time for this ineptitude, dilly-dallying and weekly reversing of course to stop. Their inability to act as a solid voice for quality education is plaguing the ability to get the best and the brightest to want to come to Kingsville to be a part of something great—the education of our children.
The board has earned a reputation for meddling without purpose, incompetence, and cronyism. After watching them bungle and stumble their way through the past few months, we are coming to believe there is some truth to this negative reputation and perception.
While we agree one of the paramount obligations of a school board is to find a competent and professional leader to serve and lead the district, we also believe the board has an obligation to conduct its business with professional and competent aplomb.
The district has earned a reputation as having subpar education, and that is a shame. There is abundance of dedicated professionals and teachers currently working in the school system who are striving hard every day of every week of every month to do what’s best for the children they teach.
They are dedicated, but they are frustrated. They lack leadership. They lack consistency. They lack a district wide vision to implement in their classrooms. We understand their frustration. This is no way to provide and conduct quality education as we move into the 2020’s.
It is time for this school board to get its collective act together and act in the best interest of the students of the Kingsville Independent School District. They need to come up with a strong policy of education for the future, figure out how to fund it and then find competent and professional leadership to manage it.
Once they set the policy and find good leadership, it is time for them to get out of the way and let the professionals manage the system and implement their policy. Micromanaging and changing directions on the whim of a board member or a changing board coalition is the antithesis of oversight, but it is also bad policy, bad leadership, bad management and smacks of incompetence and unprofessionalism of the highest order.
It is time for this board to come up with a viable policy of education for the next five to 10 years and get out of the way. Formulate a visionary policy, hire a great superintendent and support staff, and then let them run the show over time without micromanaging every little detail. This is how business has been done in Kingsville for a while; now it is time for it to stop.
The good intentions of this board have to move from trying to manage the day-to-day affairs of the district to formulating a vision for the future and then evaluate from the outside. If current trends, norms and management methods continue, Kingsville will never truly shine as a place for quality education because quality educators will not want to come or stay here.