Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The scoop from The Apple

Superintendent Peter Gorman's news conference this morning wasn't as celebratory as he and his crew had hoped, since Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools didn't snag the Broad Prize for Urban Education* at Tuesday's ceremony in New York City. But there were some interesting nuggets from the event.

First, the serious education stuff: Gorman said Gwinnett County Public Schools, which took the top prize, is pursuing many of the same strategies as CMS. The suburban Atlanta district has moved from a top-down strategy of "telling people what to teach and how to teach it" to one that grants more freedom to successful educators. Gwinnett Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks is also focused on building the effectiveness of principals and teachers.

There was also talk about the importance of leadership stability -- that is, having a superintendent who not only lays out his vision but sticks around to make it work. Wilbanks has held his job 14 years, the longest-serving leader of a big district, Gorman said.

Now the celebrity gossip: Gorman says he had a brief chat with NBC anchor Brian Williams, who gave the keynote speech at the Broad Prize ceremony. He says Williams told him about spending  time in North Carolina because he has a child at Elon University. "He also shared that he likes NASCAR," Gorman said.

And finally, a public-relations official's nightmare: LaTarzja Henry was getting ready for the award ceremony and flipped on the TV in her Manhattan hotel room. And there, on New York City TV, was a report on a student injured by an exploding pen in CMS's Turning Point Academy.

*As some have noted, our print-edition headline and photo caption were wrong in stating that CMS took second place. The four remaining finalists were not ranked. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the also-rans to the stage one by one before announcing the winner. CMS was the last eliminated, which added to the suspense but did not mean the Charlotte crew outscored Montgomery County, Md., and two districts in El Paso, Texas. As Gorman quipped today, "we like to say we tied for second."


Anonymous said...

Those kids would not have embarrassed Gorman and Henry IF they had received the help they needed early in their educational careers.

It's a good thing that the pen bomb did go office at school. Imagine what would have happened if the wmd had gone off in that residential area.