Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peduto Says He Supports Search for Schools Chief

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peduto Says He Supports Search for Schools Chief

Article excerpt

Mayor Bill Peduto said he fully supports the search process the board of the Pittsburgh Public Schools is using to find the district's next superintendent.

The mayor made that announcement Monday after he and his staff met with school officials including Pittsburgh board president Regina Holley, outgoing superintendent Linda Lane and Brian K. Perkins, the consultant hired by the school board to guide the search process.

The afternoon meeting in Mr. Peduto's office lasted a little more than an hour and was characterized by the mayor as "a very, very good discussion."

"I was concerned at the very beginning and through secondhand reports of the process about the way Dr. Perkins was hired. However, with the explanation of the president of the school board and listening to Dr. Perkins I am reassured," Mr. Peduto said.

Mr. Perkins' firm was hired by the Pittsburgh board in November in a 5-4 vote without the district issuing requests for proposals from search firms. Board member Cynthia Falls voted no and outgoing directors Mark Brentley, Sherry Hazuda and Bill Isler abstained.

Mr. Perkins was recommended to the board by Ms. Holley and school director Thomas Sumpter, who met him at a conference for the Council of Urban Boards of Education. He is leading the search to replace Mrs. Lane, who is retiring June 30.

"I think the process [to find a consultant] could have been done in a different manner. But I don't know if the process could have found the kind of candidate they wanted to find," the mayor said.

Mr. Perkins is the director of the Urban Education Leadership Program at Columbia University's Teacher College in New York City, from which he earned a doctorate in education. In addition, he has served two terms as national chairman for the Council of Urban Boards of Education and has performed consulting stints in school districts around the world.

"This is someone who understands the challenges of urban education. It wasn't just hiring a search firm but it was 'let's find someone who really understands what the Pittsburgh Public Schools will need and find the best [superintendent] candidate," the mayor said. …

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