Watching the mayor and Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire spar is something to behold.
Foresteire is a good 25 years older than the mayor but he gets up earlier, works harder and smarter, and usually comes out victorious at whatever he puts his mind to.
Unlike Foresteire, the mayor is fighting battles he cannot win with strategies that make little to no sense.
The mayor has a questionable work ethic. He’s obviously bored by his job. He doesn’t show up to his city hall office for days – but then, he just doesn’t care.
The mayor couldn’t manage an appearance at Friday night’s football game. He apparently called someone who was there near to the end of the game to ask what was going on.
Foresteire’s appearance at the game, at every game, is an absolute requirement when you are a guy like the superintendent.
He appeared Friday night in suit and tie, polished really, looking quite like the leader of the city as he always tends to do. People reached out to shake his hand. Others hugged him to say hello.
He took a seat with friends by the press box.
Like everyone else, he wiped down the seat because it was wet from the all day rain.
Then he sat like everyone else, in his suit and tie.
He cheered on the Crimson Tide. He growled and shouted out loud when things didn’t go their way.
No one was more disappointed when they lost than him. That loss Friday night was like a stab in the heart for him. He takes it all very seriously.
He treats the public schools the same way.
He created the scene at Everett Memorial Stadium – an altogether incredible high school football scene.
It is more like a small college football scene, something created over two decades, perfected and wound up for another spin at statewide supremacy and victory every September. He does the same magic with the public schools. It is noticeable. It is apparent. Friends and foes alike can’t deny FFF’s ferocious devotion to duty and to success.
It is difficult to imagine this scene perpetuating itself without Foresteire’s constant, unyielding presence.
His imprint on everything going on is so noticeable, so powerful – the championship marching band, the cheerleaders, the championship Crimson Tide, the legion of Crimson Tide followers dressed in Crimson red working the stands or ushering in the crowds, and the crowds themselves, the interest in EHS football, in the game as entertainment – this is all FFF’s creation. The high school, the elementary schools, the cleanliness and order so apparent in all those facilities, and successes – kids coming of age in a system that helps them up and out, this friends is also FFF’s creation.
What a creation, indeed.
The mayor shows no real interest in this creation.
In fact, he shows a resolute disinterest in anything FFF does. One is left to wonder, does any of this survive when FFF is gone?
Could the mayor know how to carry on such a great success? Would he have an interest in doing so?
Leadership in this city is all about paying attention to detail and fighting for what is right.
No one in public office does that quite as well as Frederick F. Foresteire.