News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

Leadership counts

Lowell school children are getting a better education today due to the efforts of teachers, staff, parents, and students—all under the leadership of Superintendent Karla Brooks Baehr. If you’ve paid attention to local media, you know the superintendent has been under intense scrutiny regarding the high school headmaster’s upcoming retirement. State law gives Dr. Baehr the right to choose her team, and the Lowell School Committee holds her accountable for that team’s performance. (She didn’t receive her bonus this year partly due to unmet goals at the high school.) Aside from the view of powerful malcontents upset with Baehr’s unwillingness to accommodate their friends, there are other, more important, aspects of her leadership. In addition to her role in providing strong curriculum and instruction, Lowell has benefited from Dr. Baehr’s reputation as a well-respected educator. Lowell is the only district other than Boston to receive funds—about $1.8 million so far—from EdVestors, a clearinghouse for private donors. Also, Governor Patrick has appointed her to do important work on pre-k through higher education as co-chair of his Accountability and Assistance Subcommittee with Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, a group that distributes millions of dollars in grants annually. Despite state and national recognition of her abilities (she was one of a dozen educators nationwide chosen to receive students from Harvard’s superintendent internship program), Baehr remains committed to Lowell kids. A few years ago, then Education Commissioner Driscoll told about 500 Lowell teachers that he offered Dr. Baehr his more »

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