By DAVID BOYLE
The Anchorage School Board’s selection for the new superintendent doesn’t meet the minimum criteria.
The State of Alaska requires a superintendent to have a minimum of three years teaching. Yet Jharrett Bryantt, the incoming superintendent, only has two years of classroom teaching.
This requirement is spelled out in Alaska Administrative Code 4 AAC 12.345, which states the minimum experience requirements as follows:
(A) for a superintendent endorsement, at least five years of satisfactory employment as a teacher or administrator, with a minimum of
(i) three years of employment as a teacher in an elementary or secondary program with a teacher certificate under 4 AAC 12.305.
Bryantt only has two years teaching experience, according to his resume. It is difficult to understand how the board and its search contractor, Ray &Associates Inc., could have missed this minimum criterion.
Even more amazing is how Dr. Bryantt, the current human resources director for the Houston Independent School District, did not recognize the minimum personnel requirement in the job listing.
Now it is up to the ASD Board and the State Department of Education & Early Development to determine if Dr. Bryantt meets the minimum qualifications or needs a waiver.
But this minimum requirement should not be waived, some argue. Minimum requirements are just that — the bare minimum. If a waiver is granted, the integrity of the entire selection process comes into question.
The other two candidate finalists, who met the minimum teaching requirement, also have a case against the district. They were not selected over a candidate that did not meet the minimum requirements.
The district also surveyed the public and ASD employees to determine their priorities in selecting a new superintendent. The number one priority for teachers, parents and support staff was “Has classroom experience in a K-12 setting.”
Administrators ranked classroom experience as their third highest priority; students ranked it as their fourth highest priority. There were 31 various qualities/characteristics ranked; classroom experience was near the top.
Here is the entire chart showing the qualities/characteristics of a new superintendent, the rankings, and the various responding groups in the district survey, which was self-selected in terms of participation. The highlighted items are those that the board was recommended to use ins its selection process.
Note that item 23, “Is able to lead district diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” only ranked in the middle of the group.
Most of these highlighted items are what a leader should possess. What we don’t know is if the board used these items in its selection process.
The integrity of the selection process is called into question by this finding. Was the process valid or was it slanted to get a certain candidate? Will the Department of Education and Early Development be persuaded to waive a minimum requirement or adhere to its criteria?
David Boye is former executive director of Alaska Policy Forum and is Must Read Alaska’s education writer.