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Time to look for another school superintendent

Brenda Cassellius will resign at the end of the school year, roughly three years after she was hired away from Minnesota.

In a letter to "the BPS community" this morning, Mayor Wu said she, School Committee Chairwoman Jeri Robinson and Cassellius decided it was time for Cassellius to move on.

Over the last several days Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, Boston School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson, and I have been in conversation together about the Boston Public Schools (BPS) - our progress, future, and leadership. Today, we are announcing a mutual decision that the Superintendent will transition out of her role leading the district at the end of this school year.

Cassellius can expect a good recommendation from the mayor:

We have come to this decision after careful deliberation, with mutual respect for all involved and an acknowledgment that there is much work still to be done this school year and beyond. I am so grateful for the Superintendent’s leadership, especially while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and for her courage in addressing needed structural changes within our district. She has given Boston three years of strong leadership and service, and we are a better city for it.

Dr. Cassellus has been and remains an incredible champion of our children, and for equity. Her contributions have made BPS stronger today and have set the City up for future successes. Under her leadership BPS has:

  • Created a school quality guarantee so every school has access to a social worker, nurse, family liaison, guidance counselor, school psychologist, and librarian to provide a full range of supports to each student;
  • Increased rigor and high expectations across all schools with implementation of the MassCore academic standards;
  • Made important progress toward greater equity, inclusion and justice by reforming grading, attendance, student privacy, and selective admissions policies; and,
  • Championed greater transparency and authentic engagement with students, parents and community members.

Wu continued that her priorities for the next school superintendent will include "expanding access to early childhood education, reimagining BPS facilities to advance learning, and ensuring excellence across the district, including in all our high schools."

Cassellius replaced Tommy Chang, who resigned in 2018 after roughly three years in the job.

Wu said she will announce details of the search for the next superintendent "in the coming weeks."

Neighborhoods: 
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PDF icon Wu's letter on Cassellius33.11 KB

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Comments

Thank god

Will this city ever find a good superintendent?

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Voting closed 40

If the state was really considering a takeover of BPS, this would be the first step. It may not be Michelle Wu who finds the next leader of the BPS.

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You mean the organization run by Charter School veterans and advocates?

DESE is the state organ ran by a guy who told teachers last year it was safe to go back to school, except he only did zoom calls when talking with area media.

Be careful letting DESE mess with BPS too much.

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I’m neutral on this. Just pointing out that there has already been talk of putting Boston under receivership and now Boston has a leadership vacuum. I’m not sure how Michelle Wu is going to get a superintendent recruited and vetted by September, so that sounds fishy too.

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Would be terrible for BPS… it’s been a failure in Lawrence. We need strong candidates for this (thankless) job. It would be great to see a superintendent who attended BPS and knows the city. Here’s hoping!

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But Tom Payzant died last July.

One of the smartest things Menino did was to make sure that Payzant stayed at the BPS as long as he did. Looking at those who came before and after, you see what a gem he was.

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The only thing certain in these uncertain times is that the BPS Commissioner won't last longer than 2.5 years, max.

At this point, what sane education professional would want this job?

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I love that movie.

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He has Boston experience (St. Elsewhere) and the gardening accident was a ruse to go back to his shrubs in peace. The Thamesmen were not his thing.

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Sounds like

"resign or be fired"

Also can't they keep ANYONE in this position for longer than a few years? I often feel like the super is the scapegoat of BPS (and yeah in a way they are).. but cycling through so many people. It can't be good for BPS, since each new person will have their own way to do things. Simply put, changing course so often might have a negative effect.

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Will you jump, or shall we push?

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She didn't last long. The email used the same buzzwords as usual though.

Dr. Cassellus has been and remains an incredible champion of our children, and for equity. Her contributions have made BPS stronger today and have set the City up for future successes. Under her leadership .... : 

Our schools are an embarrassment but she is a champion of our children and equity, whatever that means.
And are the schools stronger today? I mean they say so, but really?

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“Equity” these days apparently means that as long as the schools are going to be terrible for some, it’s better that they be terrible for everyone.

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another one bites the dust?

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The Superintendent has to kiss the ring of theTeachers Union, another one bites the dust.

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Realize this isn't the driving point of this news, but my kid's BPS K-8 does not have a librarian. It has a library, which is great and more than most but parents volunteered to staff it and since parents haven't been allowed in the building for the past 2 years (which I'm not arguing with) no library access for the kids.

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No matter who they hire, nothing will change because no one wants change. They can say all they want, but when a proposal comes up they do nothing. Chang was right and so was this one. There is no political balls to go thru with it.

One thing is for certain, the price for operating the BPS will continue to rise.

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In cost per student, NYC is number 1.
We pay extra for "equity"

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Fiscal Year 2023 is when librarians are starting to be hired back. The superintendent took seriously the idea that the district should guarantee certain positions in schools- she started with Nurses, therapist, family liaisons, and now added librarians.

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@Library lady - thanks for this and I truly hope to see a staffed librarian at my kid's elementary.

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In the mid 2010's, my kids school computers were so old that they barely started. They were the ones with the huge monitors. Not one computer class offered. They used the computers for stuff that had to do with standardized testing.

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Unprepared for meetings, she treated staff terribly, and bunkered down with a small circle of advisors, to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

I don’t care what her and robinson’s flowery statements say (notice Wu’s was significantly less flattering), she was a failure who was given the choice to resign or be fired.

The impotence and incompetence of the school committee is on full display here. They just gave her a positive review, yet the mayor wanted her out, so they did her bidding.

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Reading the tea leaves here....

BPS is on the razor's edge of being placed into state receivership (major embarrassment)

The city audit revealed major discrepancy in reporting graduation rates.

The Superintendent may have been cooking the books to keep the state off her back and got caught.

Thanks for ruining the great institutions of the exam schools.

Thanks for causing many working class families to leave BPS and the city with your equity nonsense.

Oh, and make sure you preserve your communication records. We know how the BPS likes to communicate.

Don't let the door hit you.

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Is Boston’s public school system a joke nationally? How is that possible when the local higher learning institutions are held in such high regard? Maybe eliminating the Superintendent position (they never seem to stick around long enough to make much of a positive difference) and implementing some new joint-venture between BPS and the Universities…on second thought that sounds like an absolute nightmare to me. IDK.

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BPS just renewed her contract last summer, too. Cassellius will probably be paid full salary for the next two years.

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The reason there is so much churn in that position is that no person they could possibly hire can make much of a difference to the intractable problems of the BPS. Every change a superintendent might imagine making has other people on the other side of the issue fighting against it. BPS should go into state receivership; it's the only way to break the logjam.

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They need someone who can implement changes without any pushback. How can it be worse than what we have now? Thousands of kids getting cheated out of a decent education year after year is shameful.

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She didn't last long. This is a glaring example why anyone who has the means to send their kid to a private school (if the child doesn't get into Latin) does so. The parents who don't have those means have to hope for the best and that isn't very promising.
There's no second chances with a child's education. This system has been failing to prepare students for a promising future for a long time.
Spending more money is not a solution. The system spends a huge amount of money per student, but isn't getting a positive result.
The city needs to do some kind of top to bottom restructuring of the school department.

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Perhaps you need a wider circle of friends and/or some actual experience in Boston Public Schools. I sent two children through Boston Public Schools - neither of them went to exam schools both of whom went to great colleges. Have lots of friends who did the same. BPS has serious challenges and I think Casselius wasn't up to it, but to say that everyone who can puts their kids into private school is just the kind of ignorant nonsense that just degrades an important discussion.

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The non-binding referendum passed last year, Wu says she supports a hybrid of appointed and elected members. How will this play out? A superintendent will likely be hired by an appointed committee but serve a different group of people for at least part of the contract.

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The new superintendent just needs to make sure two right kids get into the BLS.

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And Mayor Wu continues that revered Boston political tradition of saying one thing, then doing something else (with a really good excuse though).

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