"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This and that on Heidi's Retirement

As ECSD enters its last week with Heidi Carvin at the helm, I can't help but feel only a sense of relief. She was a terrible school administrator and, sadly, women like her make us all look bad when they are in positions of power and misuse it. My entire career was spent trying to eliminate sexism from the equation and I wasn't always successful, but at least I tried to acknowledge when it was in play. My concern is that all people with limited experience in dealing with women in power will think this is how they all behave. It is not. Just the stupid ones who are unable to extricate themselves from the gender stereotypes in which they find themselves mired. I was recently told that I am a robot bitch who makes decisions based on evidence. I personally considered that a complement, though it was not meant to be one at all. I play against type and I am slammed, but I would find an equal if not greater number of people who, if I chose to make important decisions based on emotional content, would skewer me for that approach. The scientific approach is in keeping with my personality and I'll stick with that in most instances. When my kid gets hurt in a sport, maybe not so much. But in every incidence in which measured thought is necessary for a reasonable conclusion, I hope to always be able to say, "I used logic and sense to solve that problem."

I have only one wish for Heidi in her retirement. That is that she find peace which eludes her. She has responded to life in the way many bright women do, and that is to consider herself better than others because to be a brilliant girl when she was growing up was infinitely more difficult than it is now. Scorn and derision followed her everywhere and she likely was smarter than 99% of the people she found herself surrounded by. That does something irretrievable to a person's life outlook and it made her really self-absorbed and superior, leading to a leadership style in which she believed she was not accountable to anybody but herself. Hence her terrible relationship with every school board she has supposed to answer to, with varying degrees of failure, over the last nine years. When Michael Pierick wrested control back to the school board in 2006, things got infinitely worse because she was now expected to do what she was told. The result is the broken chain of command in which administrators were allowed to disrespect the school board. After all they have done for this district, that is absolutely an unacceptable result. Jerry Roth will have his hands full, but I have confidence he will do what needs to be done to correct the situation. It will take some work on both sides to repair the complete lack of trust the board has in everything the admin. does. If successful, the board will have to ditch the micromanaging style and show trust in various ways. Roth will have to prove he is capable of getting his staff in line and therefore worthy of the trust. It will be hard, but can look really great if done properly. Good luck to everyone in the next few years.

Oh, I actually have 2 wishes for Heidi in her retirement. The other one is that she avoid getting another job in which she has to supervise people. It is not her forte.  I know this because I am also a terrible supervisor and know how to recognize the failure in others...Carry on!

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