Following an extensive search, the Manchester Board of School Committee’s Special Committee on the Superintendent Search has released the names of the two finalists it has recommended to be the city’s next superintendent of schools.
The search was conducted by executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, also known as H Y A. According to the company, thirty seven candidates from eighteen states and one Canadian province applied for the position. H Y A narrowed the field, forwarding several candidates to the Super Search Committee to interview. The committee interviewed six candidates and narrowed the field to the three finalists. One finalist withdrew for personal reasons, thus the committee submitted two names
In 2 0 1 1, finalist, Dr. Bolgen Vargas was appointed as Interim Superintendent of the Rochester, New York City School District; an urban district with more than thirty thousand students, an eight hundred million dollar budget and six thousand employees. He successfully addressed a seventy six million dollar budget gap, brought a relentless focus on student achievement, drove the effective and efficient allocation of resources, and developed strong communication and collaboration tie with all stakeholders. Following a national search, he was named superintendent and served from July, 2 0 1 2 to December, 2 0 1 5, during which time he addressed a structural budget deficit and while shifting resources to expand vital services to students and to reinvest in art, music, sports, extracurricular activities, special education, English language learners, and career and technical education.
Prior to his time as superintendent, he served on Rochester’s school board for eight years, including three years as the board’s chair and served two decades as a school counselor in the Greece Central School District, a suburban district in Greece, New York. Dr. Vargas received his doctorate in Education Leadership and Organization from the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned distinction for his dissertation, “Educational Success in the Face of Adversity as Measured by High School Graduation.”
Born in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Vargas immigrated to the United States as a high school student who spoke only Spanish. Currently, Dr. Vargas is an educational consultant.
Finalist, Dr. Vincent Cotter, co-founded the Exemplary Schools Organization in 2 0 1 1 and serves as its president. Prior to founding the business, which assists struggling schools and districts, he served eleven consecutive years as Superintendent of the Colonial School District in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Dr. Cotter was the primary innovator of the unique “Reaching Above and Beyond” program, which dramatically improved student achievement through a collaborative accountability system that merged the concepts of curriculum rigor, collaboration and inclusiveness in the goal development process. For his efforts, Dr. Cotter was awarded the prestigious international Juran Medal in the field of education for sustained systemic improvement. He was the first educator in the history of the American Society for Quality to be so honored.
Before becoming superintendent, Dr. Cotter, served with distinction as Principal of North Penn High School in Lansdale, one of the largest high schools in Pennsylvania. There, he provided the framework for the school to capture numerous academic awards. Dr. Cotter has also served as a middle school principal, district curriculum supervisor, assistant principal, and teacher in Philadelphia, and neighboring communities during his 40 year career.
Dr. Cotter was awarded a Legislative Recognition Award, the National Public Relations Association’s Bob Grossman Award and was nominated as teacher of the year in Philadelphia as a special education teacher.
Drs. Vargas and Cotter will tour the school district on Friday, September 2 3rd, and meet with the Board of School Committee on Saturday, September 24th. There will be various public forums and stakeholder group meetings to ensure the public has the opportunity to meet, greet and question both.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
“The allegations are baseless nonsense from a political hack who is unhappy with the momentum that Jeanie has, with the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader. Jeanie filled out a survey for SCAN and has conducted her entire campaign within the letter and spirit of the law. Quite frankly, this is gutter politics and exactly why people are fed up with the political process.”
That’s what Forrester for Governor campaign consultant Mike Dennehy had to say about moi, your Humble Host, to W M U R political reporter John Distaso in response to the complaint filed with the Attorney General’s office asking for an investigation into whether or not the Forrester campaign is illegally coordinating efforts with the Save the Children Action Network, a Washington D C based political action committee that’s endorsed Forrester’s campaign and is a client of Dennehy’s firm.
In addition to the PAC using Dennehy’s office address for their finance filings, the complaint cites Dennehy’s provision of an internal poll touting Forrester’s standing to Distaso several weeks ago. Dennehy refused to identify which organization did the poll. However, a review of campaign finance reports showed the Forrester campaign didn’t pay for any polling, but the Save the Children Action Network PAC did. Since both the Forrester campaign and PAC are clients of Denney’s, Girard questioned how they could be acting independently of one another, especially since the PAC has endorsed Forrester and spent thousands of dollars backing her effort.
Dennehy’s lobbying firm partner, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley was somewhat more charitable in his response, calling the allegations “completely untrue, unfounded and without merit.” Bouley is a public supporter of and donor to the gubernatorial campaign of Democratic Executive Councilor, who has also been endorsed by the Save the Children Action Network, which has also spent thousands to support him. As of the last filing report we saw, Save the Children Action Network has spent over three hundred five thousand dollars in support of Forrester and Van Ostern.
We’ll have something to say about this this morning, you can be sure!
That’s news from our own back yard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!