Let district staff do their jobs

I fully support Sheryl McMath’s, UFV professor, position that trustees micromanage the school district.

When Heather Maahs expresses alarm about the attrition of school district personnel, she needs to look no further than the faces in the mirror of the Chilliwack School District Trustees.

Having been a secondary school principal and vice-principal for 22 years and having personally known dozens of superintendents, assistant superintendents both as colleagues and friends in many districts, I have witnessed the frustration of many of them as they try to deal with school trustees over the years.

Superintendents waste the majority of their time and energy with the board of school trustees. They spend the majority of their time educating, convincing, cajoling and flattering trustees who know little about education and are more interested in their own political agendas, or their political aspirations.  The role of school trustees has become superfluous over the years. Their only usefulness is to buffer the Ministry of Education and politicians from complaints and special interest groups.  There was a day when Chilliwack had trustees who were dedicated to education and put students first: Norman Crabtree, Don Patten, Betty Meager and Dick Bates to name a few.

Let the superintendents do their job without the micromanagement of trustees and you’ll have better school districts, more efficient school district offices and longer serving staff members who do not flee or retire at the first opportunity.  They can spend their time as was intended as educational leaders rather than as mollifiers of trustees.

 

Tony de Wit

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