When I was a girl, we used to jump rope and sing about who we’d marry when we grew up: “rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief…” I’m not sure what they sing nowadays (hopefully it’s less boy centered), but if it involves lucrative careers, add assistant superintendent to the list. The title doesn’t rhyme easily, but it’s a great job with generous benefits, good money, and meaningful work.
You might find this sarcasm odd coming from me, especially since the local paper portrayed me as a “fierce” supporter of the recently approved assistant superintendent contracts. Yes, I explained why I voted for the contracts, which give an average 6.19% increase to Lowell’s four assistant superintendents, but I wasn’t happy about spending the money. (See LTC’s website for replay times or streaming video of the 7/16 meeting.)
My decision to support the contracts was based, like all my decisions, on what I believe is best for the education of our children: These four people were vital to the progress we made under former Supt. Baehr, and they are particularly important now with a new superintendent onboard. The challenges facing our district become increasingly more intense as the economy falters and global competition grows. Poverty, homelessness, language differences, as well as many other complex social issues, impact our classrooms, our streets, and our neighborhoods. Now more than ever, we need excellent public schools, and despite past successes, we still have a long way to go before we get there.
The new contracts provide parity within our district (we had subordinates making near or more than the assistant superintendent they reported to) and equity within the marketplace (some area administrators making lots more in smaller districts). In addition, the new contracts offer critical language regarding indemnification. The contracts are fair, not at the top in terms of comparable positions in other districts, but enough to show due respect for the key roles these people play in the continued success of our schools. You attract strong candidates with competitive compensation, and you keep the best—proven committed people—by demonstrating you value them. It may not be a song for jumping rope, but it will help get us where we need to go with the schools.