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The cheering was empty

By Josh Resnek

At Monday night’s School Committee meeting, a vote was taken to reconvene the search committee –thatistosay–avotewastakentoaddinto the choice mix of qualified candidates for superintendent the possibility of local candidates participating in the process.

School Committeeman Lester McLaughlin presented the motion. School Committeewoman Millie Cardello seconded it.

A vote was taken.

The measure failed, 4-3 with School Committeemen Bernie D’Onofrio and David Ela not present.

School Chair Thomas Abruzzese delighted in the vote. He asked for reconsideration.

When the vote on reconsideration was taken, all those who voted against the previous measure made an error.

One by one, they answered affirmatively instead of voting against the measure, as they intended.

It is one of those slips made from time to time.

What this slip does, it forces the measure to be marked up for yet another vote at the next School Committee meeting.

But it won’t pass.

The fifth vote to give the locals a chance is missing.

Insiders say the vote is not there. The measure will fail for sure.

This is the end of the alteration of the choice process.

When the vote failed Monday night, about 25 of the most vocal advocates for inferior superintendent candidates all roared with gusto – cheering and applauding.
One might have thought the entire city was cheering with them. That’s certainly how those School Committee members who voted against the measure allowing qualified locals to be judged must have taken it – because they won’t be budged in their belief that the city needs mediocre contestants to successfully fulfill their mandate to choose someone knew.

An insider told the Leader Herald that nothing is going to happen. I don’t believe that.
The mayor can make it happen – but he has to invest himself in the process, twist a few arms, and get it done.

Otherwise, Paul Toner is going to be the next superintendent of schools.

For how long?

I give him a year to a year and half.

He’s a big thinking, big feeling Cambridge guy who will outgrow Everett in a very short period of time.

He will get his first experience as a superintendent here as he has never been a superintendent anywhere.

He’s a lawyer and a labor guy apparently very popular with teachers.

There are 600 teachers in the EPS.

There are more than 7,000 students and almost twice that number of parents.

Will Toner be a fulltime superintendent?

This is a real job. It isn’t college course or a special program. It is not like being a Fellow at Harvard talking with intellectuals about teaching strategies.

Everett needs someone who will be a superintendent 24/7, the way teachers are teachers nearly 24/7 for their students here – such are the requirements of serving the kids of this city, of any city where the rubber hits the road.

This isn’t just a job. It is a lifestyle. For those immersed in it, it becomes an obsession.

The new superintendent must be about this city. He must instill pride – and feel the pride in what he is attempting. He needs to attend football games, musical concerts, academic experiments and award ceremonies. He needs to be everything to everyone. That has been the tradition here.

There is a lot more than meets the eye in what’s riding on this choice to be made for superintendent.

Maybe Mr. Toner turns out to be a great superintendent.

That would be very satisfying.

But even he would have to admit, he can’t know how he will do, how long he will be here, and what direction his leadership will take until he’s tried.

The Everett administrators are all qualified and certified to be superintendents. There is no experimenting with them. They are devoted Everett professionals who know their way around this city, who are proud of what they’ve achieved, who take great pride in being associated with this great old city. One is already acting in good faith in every way as the acting superintendent.

Another has been an assistant superintendent for about 25 years.

The third, is a man of race and color who would be leading a school system that is more than 90% of race and color.

None of these three are being interviewed.

You have to wonder why and by what sense of reasoning?

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