April 13, 2008

RUSD names three superintendent finalists

RUSD board announcing its finalist choices, at 8 a.m. Sunday

Three finalists for the job of superintendent of schools at Racine Unified were announced Sunday morning.

All three have been urban school superintendents, although none is holding that job at present. There are two African-American women among the three finalists, and one white male.

The three are:
Dr. Craig Bangtson, former superintendent of Bartow County Schools in Cartersville, GA, and former superintendent of Grayson County Schools in Leitchfield, KY;

Dr. Barbara Moore Pulliam, assistant professor, College of Education, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, and former superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools, Jonesboro, GA;

Dr. Carlinda Purcell, former superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery, AL, and Warrenton, NC.

All three, according to the nine-member RUSD board search committee, have had success in improving academic achievement, the district's number one goal. Russ Carlsen said the district's top three goals are "academic achievement, academic achievement, academic achievement." (Presumably in that order.)

The three finalists -- winnowed down from eight candidates interviewed last weekend (by the entire search committee, with the exception of Brian Dey) from the original pool of 24 -- will meet with teachers, administrators and community leaders Monday, and the public will have an opportunity to meet them Monday night, at a forum and reception at the Golden Rondelle, 1525 Howe St., beginning at 6 p.m. with a 45-minute reception. Feedback from these constituent groups will be collected and given to the school board before it interviews each of the candidates on Tuesday.

Here are some details from the candidates' resumes (presented in alphabetical order):

Dr. Craig Bangtson: 57 years old, married for 33 years, two children. (The only candidate who listed this information on resume.) "Retired" two years ago to care for his mother, who died of cancer last fall. Has 26 years of superintendent experience, in districts ranging from 450 students to 16,000. Managed budgets up to $175 million. Bartow, his most recent district, has more than 15,000 students, 2,200 employees and a budget of $130 million. Ed.D in Educational Administration from Texas A&M in 1985. First "honor" listed on resume: "Educational Leadership Award given by U.S. Sec. of Education Richard Riley in Washington, D.C., for leadership in student achievement, only one superintendent given this honor every four years; January 1995."

Quoted: "He negotiated labor agreements for over 21 years and reports never having had a work stoppage. He feels that his success in dealing with staff is a result of creating an atmosphere of professionalism. Noting that success can become contagious (he) said the quest for excellence is an on-going pursuit..."

Dr. Barbara Moore Pulliam: Currently teaches graduate courses. From 2004 to 2007 was superintendent in Jonesboro, GA, a suburban Atlanta district with 52,400 students that passed a $269 million referendum for building new schools and renovating older ones. Ten years as a superintendent, including seven at the st. Louis Park, MN, district with 4,400 students. PhD from Vanderbilt University in 1988. First honor on resume: "Superintendent of the Year, Georgia PTA, 2007."

Quoted: "I believe that one of my greatest strengths is my ability to listen and to hear what people are saying. it takes patience and sometimes a lot of time to do this, but it also is one of the best ways I know to make certain that the Superintendent is hearing what is being said... My greatest strength is my ability to bring key stakeholders to the table..."

Dr. Carlinda Purcell: Presently a consultant. Superintendent from 2004 to 2006 in Montgomery, AL, a district with 33,000 students, 58 schools and 4,300 employees; budget of $246 million. Superintendent in Warrentown, NC, from 1995 to 2002, a district with 3,300 students, 500 employees and a $22 million budget. EdD in Administration and Supervision/Special Education, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 1983. First honor listed: "Education Technology Think Tank/Technology to Empower community Champion Leadership Award/Congressional Black Caucus Education Brain Trust by Congressman Major Owens for recognizing the critical needs to provide 21st century learning environment."

Quoted: "When she began her tenure (in Warrenton), the level of African-American students achieving Adequate Yearly Progress was only in the 40th percentile. Her leadership helped this district register one school at the 80th percentile ... prior to her departure. During her last year, every school except the high school achieved Adequate Yearly Progress rating, meaning 80% of all students in those schools were at grade level..."

The three candidates are competing for a two-year contract (the longest the state allows a district to make) at a salary potentially starting at $144,000 a year, plus benefits.

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