I know, I know, I know. I’ve become a broken record talking about the state school board picking Michael Sentance to head the Alabama Department of Education. But how do you walk away from a train wreck of this size and act like it never happened? Especially when every day brings a new revelation that causes you to shake your head again and again.
Last Friday a subcommittee of the state board met in Montgomery to decide on a compensation proposal for Sentance. They settled on a base salary of $198,000 with additional “perks” that put the total package at $255,926 a year. Brian Lyman of the Montgomery Advertiser covers this well here.
And here is the aha moment in the story.
“The subcommittee spent most its time figuring out the base salary. Sentance sought a salary of $221,000 a year, but subcommittee members said Sentance’s lack of administrative school experience — he worked for the U.S. and Massachusetts Departments of Education — did not justify that salary.
“Mr. Sentance has an impressive record of reform, working with teachers, policy making, but he never worked as a superintendent,” said board member Yvette Richardson, who chaired the subcommittee.”
You see, the qualifications for the job the SBOE put together REQUIRED that candidates have administrative experience. But they ignored their own job description, voted to hire Sentance and then decided he should not be paid what he wanted because of their OWN blunder.
Here is the ad for the position.
NOTICE OF VACANCY
ALABAMA STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION
The Alabama State Board of Education is seeking qualified applicants for the position of State Superintendent of Education due to the retirement effective April 1, 2016, of Dr. Thomas R. Bice, former State Superintendent of Education. Pursuant to state law, this notice must be posted at a conspicuous place at each school campus and worksite, as well as at the central office of each local board of education, Ala. Code § 16-4-1.1 (1975). This should remain posted until further notice, Ala. Code § 16-4-1.1. The Alabama State of Department of Education is an equal opportunity employer.
(1) TITLE AND JOB DESCRIPTION: State Superintendent of Education, Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Department of Education.
(2) REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: The State Superintendent of Education shall be a person of good moral character, with academic and professional education equivalent to graduation from a standard university or college, who is knowledgeable in school administration and has training and experience sufficient to qualify him or her to perform the duties of his office, Ala. Code § 16-4-1 (1975). Furthermore, a qualified applicant shall possess:
a. Knowledge of educational policy development and implementation in a large-scale system.
b. Proven skills in working effectively with political leaders at the state level.
c. Experience in working with elected or appointed educational boards.
d. Practice in working with educational professionals, organizations and other stakeholders.
e. Familiarity with the implementation of federal and state educational legislation.
f. Experience in successfully managing a large organization as a superintendent or other educational leader.
g. Demonstrated commitment to serving a diverse student population and employing a diverse staff.
h. Experience in administering large budgets.
i. Earned doctorate, preferred but not required, from an accredited academic institution.
j. Hold or be eligible to hold an Alabama certificate in administration or supervision–preferred but not required.
k. Evidence of effective communication skills.
(3) SALARY AMOUNT: $192,000-$250,000 – Negotiable
(4) SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION: Candidates are to complete a Notice of Interest Packet available at www.alsde.edu. A completed Notice of Interest Packet must be submitted via e-mail to the attention of Juliana Dean, General Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(5) DEADLINE FOR APPLYING: June 7, 2016
(6) OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION: Application period opens April 18, 2016
Clearly, the gentleman from Massachusetts does not meet the qualifications called for in F or H. But this was evident from his resume’. He did not try to hide anything. The five members of the board who voted for him simply ignored what the entire board had agreed to.