Friday, May 4, 2012

Providence School Board: Please appoint Dr. Susan Lusi as PPSD Superintendent

Earlier this week, I wrote about my support for current Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi and urged the school board to confirm her as PPSD Superintendent on a permanent basis. At that time, I noted that we knew nothing about who the other candidate(s) were or are.

I believe we know more now. GoLocalProv reported that the field is down to two: Dr. Lusi and a mystery candidate from Pennsylvania. That mystery candidate may be Thomas Darden, deputy for process improvement and compliance of The School District of Philadelphia. If so, Tom Hoffman's report on Darden's background is very troubling. From Tom's blog:
...the private investment firm of which Darden was a co-founder and managing director, sunk Rhode Island based BlueSky Brands, of which Darden was a director, committing violations of labor law in the Virginias and mis-managing (if not looting) the pensions of workers in Rhode Island. Darden then headed off to the Broad Academy and Philadelphia Public Schools, where he was a key part of the corrupt and discredited Ackerman administration's strategy of parceling off the district's schools to private operators. And now he's the frontrunner for PPSD superintendent? In the middle of a rolling pension crisis?
This doesn't take into consideration that Darden's background in education seems shockingly minimal, especially in comparison to Dr. Lusi's deep experience and expertise. I remain committed to supporting Dr. Lusi and urge the School Board to appoint her as permanent Superintendent of the Providence Public Schools.

Of course, I am not the only one who believes that Dr. Lusi is the best candidate for the position. Linda Borg has reported in the ProJo that Providence City Council members, Council President Michael A. Solomon, Council President Pro Tempore Terrence A. Hassett, and Sam Zurier, have send letters of support to Mayor Taveras expressing support for Dr. Susan Lusi as permanently appointed Superintendent of the Providence Public Schools. You can see Zurier's letter here.

Please speak up if you have not already. If you have already, speak up again. Here's why: Dr. Lusi is building systems that will see the district through the long haul. Dr. Lusi has experience as a superintendent, not only via this past year in Providence but during a long stretch as Portsmouth's superintendent. She's stabilized the district's relationship with the union. She takes teaching and learning seriously. She communicates with parents and families confidently, compassionately, thoughtfully, and competently. Providence's schools desperately need the continuity, commitment, fierce focus and work ethic, deep expertise and experience, local roots and knowledge, that she has provided and will continue to bring to the job. She has the knowledge and experience to work well with the Rhode Island Department of Education. If all that were not sufficient, we cannot afford the interruption and disruption that will result if the school board does not appoint Dr. Lusi.

And here's how:

1. Email your City Council representative and ask that s/he write a letter of support for Dr. Lusi to Mayor Taveras, and do so yourself. Email or send letters of support for Dr. Lusi to PPSD school board members. Here are their email addresses:
UPDATE: A heads up: when I sent my email to the above list, Natalia Rosa-Sosa's email bounced. Click here for a copy of the email that I sent.

2. If you have not yet done so, sign and share the petition that is another way for you to demonstrate your support for Dr. Lusi. It's at

3. Spread the word. Please urge your friends and neighbors to speak up for what's best for our city's schools and young people. Thank you.

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