By Bill Hangley, Jr.
[UPDATE: The final transitional chart has been released]
The Philadelphia School District says it is preparing to release an updated organizational chart for the first time since the departure of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.
This is an edited transcript of Benjamin Herold's interview with William Hite.
Benjamin Herold: What impression did Philadelphia make on you during this process?
William Hite: I was surprised with the level of passion that was on display. … I was pleasantly surprised with the passion that was demonstrated by all the individuals there around making sure that there were quality schools in all of the neighborhoods, regardless of location of those neighborhoods, or historical experiences, or anything else. The fact that so many individuals wanted quality schools in their neighborhoods, that was impressive.
New Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite says that he will not reconsider the direction and reform strategies set forth by the School Reform Commission, maintaining that “some of those things have already left the station.”
The Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that Pedro Martinez, a finalist for the superintendent position in Philadelphia, has been named superintendent in Washoe County School District in Nevada.
UPDATE: The Prince George's County Board of Education has issued a statement announcing that William Hite is departing.
UPDATE: The Reno Gazette-Journal updated its article to say that Martinez has accepted the position with the WCSD. The Clark County School District, where Martinez is now deputy superintendent, issued a press release congratulating him on his new position.
By Katie McCabe and Benjamin Herold for WHYY/Newsworks
After a whirlwind 48 hours of public meet-and-greets with superintendent finalists William Hite and Pedro Martinez, key segments of the Philadelphia community appear to be leaning toward Hite as the preferred candidate for the job.
Two City Council members who attended both public forums came out assertively in support of Hite: Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who chairs the Council's education committee, and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
Attending tonight’s public engagement forum to hear from superintendent candidate Pedro Martinez?
Here are links to previous reporting done on five important areas.
1. Education & experience
Throughout Monday and Tuesday the District is holding meetings between the two finalists to become superintendent of the Philadelphia schools and stakeholders. The public forums are being streamed online. Pedro Martinez is in town Monday and William Hite will meet with the public Tuesday.
UPDATED 10:15 PM
And then there were two.
After six months of searching for a new superintendent, the School Reform Commission revealed Friday the names of two finalists for the District's top job:
Martinez's candidacy was announced Friday afternoon, but an announcement about Hite was delayed by Hite's concern over prematurely making his candidacy public.
The public will have the chance to meet and ask questions of the candidates at public forums at District headquarters next Monday and Tuesday evenings.
The School Reform Commission continued its juggling act Thursday night, combing through millions of dollars worth of District contracts while preparing to announce finalists for the city’s vacant superintendent position Friday.
Commissioner Wendell Pritchett said that a list of about 100 candidates for the District's top job has been winnowed down to two finalists.
“They are both very strong candidates,” Pritchett said. “We hope to make a decision very soon.”
After a closed-door discussion of the superintendent search, the School Reform Commission met in public Friday morning and approved a request from Franklin Towne Charter High School to expand its enrollment by 250 seats next fall.
But there’s a catch – up to 65 percent of the students in each incoming freshman class will be expected to come from the catchment areas of targeted, overcrowded District-run schools in nearby communities in Northeast Philadelphia.