Another Mystery About Sentance Hire

Normally when you look at someone’s résumé’ you see a history of what jobs the person has held and when they held them.  Usually this is a continuous line running from point A to point B with no breaks in it.

But not the résumé of Mike Sentence which you can see here..

On page 4 you see he lists working as Legal Counsel, Office of Lieutenant Governor (August 1980-August 1981.  The Lt. Governor in Massachusetts then was Thomas P. O’Neill, III, son of longtime Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill.

The next entry is Assistant Attorney General (October 1988-January 1991.)

But why the gap from September 1981 to September 1988?  Where did these seven years go?  What was he doing during this period?

Spend a few minutes on the internet (apparently something no one with the state school board did) and you find out that he was involved with the presidential campaigns of Teddy Kennedy, Gary Hart and Al Gore, Jr.  Here is a good compilation of articles pertaining to Sentsnce over the years.  Look at articles from the Boston Globe (3-3-88;7-15-84: 3-5-80)

This is all fine, well and good.  I have been involved with a number of campaigns during my career.  But why doesn’t the résumé show this?  Could it be that when you are trying to get a job in a state where the Republican party has a stranglehold on state government and hold every constitutional office, you just as soon no one know?

But the “gap” in employment definitely speaks to the issue of transparency, openness and trust.  And why did no one on the state board question Sentance about this?  Unfortunately, all the questions asked of each of the six candidates were generic and not specific to anyone’s background or work experience.  So you end up with Betty Peters asking everyone if they think there is more than one way to solve a math problem.

Sentence applied for the superintendent’s job in Alabama in 2011 and did not get an interview.  I still find it hard to believe that no one asked him why he was more qualified today than he was five years ago?   Instead board member Mary Scott Hunter keeps saying, “His résumé just grew on me.”  She was on the school board in 2011.  She was part of the selection process.  Yet apparently Sentance’s résumé, the same one he now has, did not grow on her then.

But what I find most hard to believe is how did five hard-shell Republicans (Matt Brown, Betty Peters, Stephanie Bell, Mary Scott Hunter and Robert Bentley) end up voting for someone with a history of Teddy Kennedy, Gary Hart and Al Gore, Jr?

Obviously the old saw about “politics makes strange bedfellows” is true.

6 Responses to Another Mystery About Sentance Hire

  1. Perhaps he is qualified, perhaps he is not..but his political leanings might make him more palatable to me..the republican is not the education party..they have not helped education in the state of Alabama… Ever..real thinkers, innovators and visionaries in education don’t normally come form the republican party do they?

    • Looking at what the supermajority has done to Alabama public schools (Alabama Accountability Act, charter schools, A-F grading) one has to agree with you. However, one also has to be aware that the folks who did this are also his strongest supporters.

    • I have checked this guy out well. Have talked to education folks in Massachusetts. He is not the answer. He has not worked in education in Massachusetts since 2001. He apparently has not had a job since 2009. Nine states rejected his effort to get their top job. Including Alabama in 2011 when he applied and did not get an interview. His resume’ is the same now as it was then. So what changed? The K 12 budget is the largest single budget among state agencies. But he has zero administrative experience at any level. Sorry, when the education of 740,000 of our children will be impacted by this hire, how in the world do we come close to turning it over to someone who clearly does not meet the requirements for a state superintendent as detailed in the Alabama code. This was never about education–it was only about politics. And once again our kids are nothing but collateral damage.

        • I am 73 years old and have been involved in politics for more than 40 years. I honestly believe this is the worst decision I’ve ever seen a bunch of grownups make. They have totally thrown our public school system under the bus. I talked to someone in Massachusetts earlier this week who has been in education for 40 years. I was sick when I hung up the phone. This person knows Mike Sentance well and was dumbfounded that Alabama would hire him for any job–much less the top job. The school board has totally broken the trust the public has given them. He tried to get the job of Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts (which is equivalent to our state superintendent) and was turned down. Since 2099 he has been rejected by eight different states, including Alabama. Do you suppose there was a reason?

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