San Francisco School Superintendent Carlos Garcia is retiring, which is no surprise -- most school superintendent's rarely stay anywhere for more than five years, and Garcia's contract was up in June. I haven't agreed with him on everything, but overall, he's done a good job -- the schools are better than when he arrived, enrollment is increasing, and there's no more of the imperious attitude and gag orders of the old Ackerman days. The district is on the right track -- although Garcia would be the first to admit that there's a lot more work to be done.
And I have nothing bad to say about his annointed successor, Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza. He'll probably do a fine job.
But it's a little odd that the board simply handed the job over to Carranza (well, actually they've just agreed to enter contract talks with him, but that's really the same thing) without any sort of public forum, search process or outreach. I mean, there really aren't that many top-rate big-city school superintendents out there, and San Francisco is a tough place for any school chief to work, but still: Do we absolutely know that Carranza is the very best candidate we could ever find? Would it have been worth taking a month or so to check around first?
Again: I believe Carranza will be an excellent successor to Garcia, and if he carries on the same tradition and policies, the schools will be fine. He's been groomed for the job, and won't have to learn the local political scene. Makes perfect sense -- on one level.
But that was awfully quick.
As Board Member Kim-Shree Maufas told me, "It's a transition and things are going well. But where is the public process? Where do our partners -- the unions, the city, corporate partners, the community -- get to weigh in? To take SFUSD to the next level, they need to hear from the community. The board can make that happen."