SchlMs, you have been pushing really hard for the interim superintendent, long before there is any data whatsoever to measure his effectiveness. You already know my feelings, which I have articulated in postings for other articles on this website, and I don't expect them to change your thinking. To be honest, you are also unlikely to change mine. However, by no objective standard has the interim proven himself effective as a superintendent; no one is going to do that in a month or in even several months.
Migdalia Rivas doesn't know enough to be embarrassed by her own behavior, which is, at best, inappropriate.
Does Ms Rivas really see the need for posting a job ad in Spanish? Does she think that an applicant who can't read an ad written in English could possibly meet the requirements of the job?
Ms Rivas, your behavior is an insult to all of the citizens of Norwalk. View Comment
"He holds people accountable, but does not publicize that he is doing it." Holding people accountable is of some value, but providing vision and true leadership is what school systems really need. When he begins providing the latter, please let me know.
"He works well with unions, but gets things done!"
It's far too early to assess his ability to get things done while working well with the unions because he is in a far different role now.
"He knows the community, the staff and the expectations of the State Dept of Ed."
I should hope so.
"He is a tireless worker for the good of the students."
I can't judge that the good of the students is what motivates him, nor can I say that this is not his motive for working, but I agree that he works hard. Sometimes, though, he is working toward the wrong goals.
"He makes decisions! While not all will agree with his decisions, he makes them in such a way that they are respected."
This hasn't been my experience, but maybe you know of significant decisions he has made, and perhaps you can share them with the rest of us. As for respect, I am being honest in telling you that most people I know do not respect him.
"He has a consistent message on the focus for the administrators and the teachers."
What is the consistent message? If it is "accountability," please refer to my first comment above.
"Daddona has not publicized his behind the scenes work, but he has been doing and accomplishing."
This statement is devoid of meaning. I do wonder, though, how you would know what he is doing behind the scenes.
"He has made enemies, but people who hold others accountable and who make decisions do make some enemies."
Perhaps his greatest flaw is that he has had a "personal enemies list" for all of the years I have known him. He has too often boasted about how he "never forgets" perceived slights against him. That isn't the way an inspirational and effective leader behaves. It is the behavior of a petty and insecure autocrat. View Comment
I am very familiar with the evaluation process for teachers and administrators. Some people think it is never Mr. Daddona's fault, but there are two factors you should consider: 1) The former director of elementary education was Mr. Daddona's direct report, so if she wasn't doing her job, it was his responsibility to make sure that the job was done. 2) Once he took over the responsibility for evaluating elementary principals, unless he wasn't paying attention, he surely knew the history of any principal who required special attention, and he could have moved fast to begin establishing a paper trail. Apparently he didn't in the case of the Marvin principal.
A question: What did he ever do during the many years he evaluated one or more problematic middle school principals when he was director of secondary education?
But then, it is never Mr. Daddona's fault. View Comment
The poor review of administrators in Norwalk may have continued during the Susan Marks regime, but it certainly didn't begin there. There were really bad administrators long before her and even long before Sal Corda. Interesting to note is that the interim superintendent had the evaluation of principals among his duties, both when he was assistant superintendent, and in his role prior to that. View Comment
While it may or may not have been a recommendation by Dr. Marks, it required board of education approval, as the above story states. I would still like to know the story behind the story because the interim superintendent could have asked the board to reject the recommendation. View Comment
Does anyone know why the district would make such a move immediately before the beginning of a school year? Does anyone know how the district found the money to pay not only the salary, but also the benefits of a well-compensated administrator? Does anyone know how the district judged this position to be more important than rehiring teachers or literacy coaches? Does anyone know how the district judged this position to be more important than reinstating some of the funding cuts that hit the schools?
Finally, does anyone know if there is an unstated reason for this change? I don't recall Norwalk's ever having a "principal on special assignment." View Comment
And don't forget that one of the district's true visionary educators has also left the district, leaving Nathan Hale to languish.
NRWLKParent and Trainwarrior are right on the money. The wrong people want Mr. Daddona to have that job. Mr. Mellion, Dr. Moore and Mr. Ditrio are no doubt salivating over the influence they can now have. The comments from the chair of the board and the president of the NFT suggest that the board leadership and the union president (not to be confused with the rank-and-file NFT membership) are looking to continue the direction the district has been traveling. Who in his right mind thinks that that is anything other than a downward spiral?
Given the dire straights of the school system, there is a need for visionary leadership NOW, not in another 6 months. View Comment
The very LAST thing Norwalk needs to do is hire someone from within because anyone from within has been part of the problems of the district. The longer the person has been in the district, the greater the role in the dysfunction of the Norwalk Public Schools. No, this district needs someone who has no allegiance to anyone in Norwalk, i.e., anyone other than the students and the taxpayers. View Comment
A few thoughts, not in any particular order:
1. Calling it a "rainy day fund" makes the account seem less important than it really is. This account is for catastrophic events that occur, events over which no one has any reasonable control. Surely that doesn't describe the board of education problem, which is due to many years of mismanagement and which is also due to educators' salaries that surpass those of educators in far more affluent communities.
2. If the council somehow found a way to provide additional funding, this year's problem would be more easily managed, but the taxpayers shouldn't lose sight of the fact that next year will bring even greater costs, as teachers' and administrators' salaries will be even higher. In addition to that, the board of education would also have to repay at least some of the money advanced by the city. Would the board then request yet more money from the city so that it can repay the city that borrowed money? Where does it end?
3. The position of the NFT is that they have a contract and that the contract is binding, and so they will not accept a wage freeze. They are absolutely right about the binding contract, but they should look at the outcomes of their position, i.e., ill will by many taxpayers, layoffs, larger classes, etc.
4. The people who have demonstrated may have numbered over 200, but that number represents a miniscule percentage of the taxpayers of Norwalk. No one should assume that these people represent the general sentiment of the citizens of the city.
5. Over the years I have watched the board of education, I have seen so many individuals whose decisions have been flawed to the point of being irresponsible. There have been virtual giveaways to the top paid officials of the board of education, i.e., those individuals who are not part of the bargaining units. If the taxpayers could see the benefits beyond the salaries of some of these people, they would be outraged. But because there are so few of these individuals, no one raises a fuss.
One final thought: If the board escapes this crisis, what reason does anyone have to think that it won't lapse into yet another crisis, knowing that the city will do whatever is necessary to bail them out? View Comment
I also agree with the author's sentiments. Although I am a lifelong Catholic, I firmly believe that the hysteria against building a mosque near the 9/11 site is a violation of everyone's religious rights. Today, it's the Muslims, but tomorrow it may be my religion or yours. In the "interests of national security," we have given up privacy and other rights. Now people are extending this to the sensitivity of people affected by the attacks. I can only imperfectly understand the anguish and personal devastation that these people have experienced, but let's not add religious freedom to the rights we have lost. How many of us are proud of what happened to Americans of Japanese descent during WWII? Now we understand how wrong the camps were. Someday we will also see the hysteria and political posturing against Muslims as wrong.