It’s Garth Harries Vs. ... Dred Scott

(Updated 7:02 p.m.) It turns out that two familiar names, not one, have made the finals in the search for a new city schools superintendent.

Officials Thursday released the names of the three finalists in the race to succeed retiring schools Superintendent Reggie Mayo.

One of the three, as expected, is Mayo’s deputy, Garth Harries, who has served as point man for New Haven’s fledgling school-reform drive. (Click here to read about his quest for the post. Click here to read his resume.) On Thursday a mayoral candidate, Justin Elicker, endorsed Harries for the post. Harries, a well-known figure in town, is considered the favorite for the post. Harries received another endorsement later Thursday, from an influential minister, Rev. Eldren Morrison of Varick AME Zion Church, who has had a high profile in local education issues. “Garth Harries has been instrumental in executing New Haven’s nationally recognized School Reform agenda. He should be able to continue his work for kids as New Haven’s next superintendent,” Morrison is quoted as saying in a statement released by his church.

Another of the finalists hails from Missouri—with an even better-known name: Dred Scott. He has served since 2008 as deputy superintendent of a school system in Independence, Missouri. (Click here to read his resume.) He bears the same name as an important figure in our country’s civil-rights history:a 19th century slave who challenged slavery in a landmark case before the Supreme Court. (Schools spokeswoman Abbe Smith said she doesn’t know whether or not the finalist descends from the historical figure.)

The third candidate: Former Memphis schools chief Kriner Cash. (Here’s his resume.) Cash resigned his Memphis post this past January. The board had already voted not to renew his contract. According to one local news account, “Cash has a quick wit and a deep understanding of educational issues, but he drew criticism for not communicating well with employees and the public and his occasionally brusque style.”

Under pressure to conduct a “transparent” selection process, the school board is holding an open-to-the-public round of interviews with the candidates at Gateway Community College’s downtown campus from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Besides observing the process, members of the public can submit questions in advance here (in English) or here (in Spanish).

The school board plans to vote on its final choice this coming Monday night.

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posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on July 18, 2013  4:23pm

I have looked at all of the resumes of these candidates. The most impressive resume and the individual with the most experience in public education in my opinion is Dr. Kriner Cash. I am sure there are be critical comments and opinions about the other two candidates, but why did the NHI choose to publish something negative only about Dr. Cash?
I encourage all readers to check out all the resumes and draw you own conclusions.

posted by: Hieronymous on July 18, 2013  4:27pm

And he’s from Missouri. Got to be a descendant.

posted by: robn on July 18, 2013  5:52pm

Cash does have a lot of experience and with pretty diverse school systems. Boy I’d love to hear the final interviews.

posted by: speakingthetruth on July 18, 2013  6:45pm

It’s stunning that a guy who taught for one year…yes you read that correctly, one year in 1995-1996 at Vail Mountain School whose average current class size is 16…thinks he can run a school district.  You need an African American or Latino man to run this school district—someone who is representative to the majority of the current city-wide school population.  Furthermore, his time spent at Broad Academy—which is listed way down the bottom of the resume—needs to be looked into by the masses.  Trust me people—-this isn’t the guy you want running the NHPS!  Do your homework and think sensibly.

posted by: Teacher in New Haven on July 18, 2013  7:29pm

I must respectfully disagree with speakingthetruth. 

The skills necessary to run a district are quite different from those necessary to run a classroom.  No one would argue that the CEO of Exon Mobil had to spend a certain number of years working on drilling rigs.  No one would argue that the CEO of Ford should spend years on the assembly line.  I am far more concerned with my superintendent’s ability to manage than his ability to teach.

Additionally, I fail to see how a candidate’s race should rise anywhere near the top of the list of qualities used to hire Dr. Mayo’s successor.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 18, 2013  8:58pm

posted by: speakingthetruth on July 18, 2013 6:45pm
It’s stunning that a guy who taught for one year…yes you read that correctly, one year in 1995-1996 at Vail Mountain School whose average current class size is 16…thinks he can run a school district

You are on the money.Parents,Teachers Taxpayers.You Better wake up on this.In fact ask the people of New York who was glad to see Garth Harries go.

Garth Harries Leaves New York City, and This is a Good Thing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A man by the Name of Joel I. Klein was his mentor.

The Education Business:
Teachers Missing At The Top

The New York City public school system has always been led by teachers. Until the chancellorship of Joel I. Klein.

You think Dr.Mayo got paid.Check this out.

Parents slam fat cat lives of Joel Klein, other Education Department officials

By Meredith Kolodner / DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 6:00 PM

Garth Harries, who oversees the creation of new schools, has investments that total between $3.9 million and $6 million.

Read the rest.

There is a old saying NEW BROOM SWEEPS CLEAN.You better get a new broom.

posted by: teacherteacher on July 18, 2013  9:24pm

Garth Harries is intelligent, educated, and well-intentioned. Unfortunately, that is not enough. He is not and never has been a public school educator and therefore is laughably unqualified in my book.

posted by: HhE on July 19, 2013  10:04am

speakingthetruth, why does the skin color of the Superintendent need to match with a simple majority of the students?  By that reasoning, a person of color could never be the superintendent of any of Connecticut’s rural and suburban districts.  What if someone were to argue that the Superintendent needed to be white to stop white flight, or because white students perform better on tests?  Would we not see that as racist?

posted by: Hemp_Shirt_Rocker on July 20, 2013  9:57am

Great info Threefifths. Thank you. The fix is definitely in. Stunning how there is zero accountability or transparency for the corporate institutions that “train” non-educators to lead large school sysyems. “Attack of the Plutocrats - coming to a city near you….”