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Harries Stops “Acting”
by Melissa Bailey | Aug 27, 2013 11:12 am
Posted to: Schools
Five weeks after he took over the job in an “acting” capacity, Garth Harries penned a deal that makes him official Number One in charge of city schools.
Harries and school board President Carlos Torre on Monday signed a one-year contract hiring him as superintendent. Harries has been serving as superintendent in an acting capacity since July 23 as the two sides negotiated the terms of the contract.
Harries, who’s 40, will earn a salary of $193,000. That’s a $53,000 raise from his prior job, assistant superintendent in charge of school reform. His earnings represent a drop from that of his predecessor, Reginald Mayo, who ended his 21-year superintendent’s career with a salary of $226,921.
In announcing the news Monday, Torre said the pay difference didn’t need to be explained. Mayo had a doctorate in education and worked for the school system for 43 years; Harries began his education career in 2003 as a top adviser to then-New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klei, after teaching for a year at a private school in Colorado earlier in his career. He joined New Haven schools in 2009.
Harries’ contract extends from July 23, 2013 to June 30, 2014. That’s because the city charter limits the contracts of first-year superintendents to one year. At Harries’ request, the board set a March 1, 2014 deadline to vote on whether to renew Harries’ contract.
By that time, a new mayor will have replaced retiring 20-year incumbent Mayor John DeStefano. It’s not clear how different the school board will look. New Haven is the only city in the state in which the mayor appoints all school board members. (The mayor also serves on the board himself.)
The board will remain appointed for all of next year: Voters will get to weigh in on Nov. 5 on whether to change to a hybrid appointed/elected board, with two elected members, but those changes wouldn’t take effect until after a November 2015 election.
The next mayor likely won’t have any vacancies to fill on the board unless he or she forces school board members out.
The current board has one vacancy: Myra Jones-Taylor (pictured) stepped down in June, citing a conflict of interest between her role on the board and her new job as the executive director of the new state Office of Early Childhood.
Mayor DeStefano said Monday he plans to fill the empty seat “soon” instead of waiting for the next mayor to do so in January.
As part of his contract, Harries is entitled to “unrestricted use” of a school system-issued car, 19 days of sick leave, 30 vacation days, and two days’ personal leave.
Harries’ contract also lays out the ground rules for a speedy job review. By Oct. 31, the board shall privately issue Harries an “informal progress review, giving feedback on his transition to the position of superintendent and suggestions for action.” By Dec. 31, Harries shall issue a written self-evaluation based on agreed-upon goals. By Feb. 1, the board shall issue a written evaluation. Then the board members will meet in private to evaluate the superintendent, and meet again, with him, to discuss their evaluation.
The evaluation process laid forth is much quicker than that of Superintendent Mayo. When the district rolled out a new way of grading teachers in 2010based on how their kids performed, the school board was supposed to establish a new way of grading Superintendent Mayo based on how his schools performed. The board conducted many interviews with parents, students and staff, and eventually compiled an evaluation, but the process took so many years that by the time they were ready to release it publicly, Mayo was close to retirement.
Also Monday, in a last-minute shuffle two days before students return to school, the board hired 42 new teachers, and transferred two assistant principals: Idis Trotman moved from Truman School to ESUMS; Sarah Rosner moved from Hillhouse High to Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School.
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Harries began his education career in 2003 as a top adviser to then-New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klei, after teaching for a year at a private school in Colorado earlier in his career. He joined New Haven schools in 2009.
Give me a break.Joel Klein is the same shyster who try to cover up the phone-hacking and police-bribery scandal plaguing News International, News Corp.’s British newspaper division own by Rupert Murdoch. Joel Klein closed schools and expand charter schools.Just watch.Time will tell with Garth Harries.
Superintendent Harries is accepted to a two year fellowship with the bigwigs in public education privatization.
NHI—I would like clarification as to whether there is a different set of rules that govern comments submitted on articles involving the New Haven Board of Education or NHPS administration. On a number of occasions when comments are submitted that reference Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina, those comments are relegated to the NHI trash can. But in crafting those comments, the same guidelines were followed by the author (me). In my view, Principal Carolina’s active quest for Mayor, and the manner in which it affects his ability to devote his full time and attention to his responsibility to administer Hillhouse HS are appropriate topics for comment.
Mr. Harries and those of his fellows at the Pahara Institute are all “leaders.”
By that I mean, all the listed fellows have titles such as Superintendent, CEO, Director, etc.
I believe that the key to improving our schools is to work from the bottom-up and NOT to continue from the top-down.
Education is about encouragement and authentic portrayal of who the teachers are rather than to exalt from on high.
This is where public education has gone horribly wrong.
I don’t doubt that Mr. Harries is a smart and accomplished person. I’m sure he is a nice person. This does not mean he will direct our schools in the direction that our kids will most profit from.
And I will wager that I know better what our kids need than he does. (and many so-called educational leaders)
But then, I lead a limited life so why listen to me and my concerns for my kids when you have fellowships to attend.