By Gordon Davis
Last night’s meet and greet event for the candidates for the Superintendancy of our Public School District was mistimed. The event should have taken place after the announcement of the newly appointed Superintendant on March 14, 2016.
I only saw two Worcester School Committee members at the event. John Monfredo, who said that he would vote for candidate Maureen Binienda, and Brian O’Connell, who was noncommittal, came.
It is not entirely clear how the opinion of the people who came to this event could affect the opinion of the Worcester School Committee. This has not been the first meaningless political show put on by the City of Worcester.
Three of the candidates are qualified for the job: Dr. Rodrigues, Dr. Binienda and Dr. Allen. Dr. Mulcahy is not quite ready to be school superintendant, but I think she will, in the future, be a stronger candidate for a superintendency.
Dr. Rodriques presented the strongest credentials for running the Worcester School District. He said his experience as the interim superintendant of the WPS, assistant superintendant of our school district, and the manager of special education has shown that he knows and can run the complex Worcester School District. For every question I asked him, he was able to give me a detailed answer.
Dr. Rodrigues spoke of his experience regarding his moving to Worcester. He said that many students in the Worcester Public Schools are new arrivals to America, and sometimes English is not their primary language. He felt that he might be able to connect to the students in Worcester Schools in ways more associated with their circumstances. It is well known that the Worcester School System is transiting to a majority minority student body.
Candidate Binienda touted her years as principal at South High School and another Worcester school. She was also a special needs teacher. Dr. Binienda has an interesting idea of collaboration between Worcester State University and the Worcester high schools, especially in the area of criminal justice education.
However, her answers to questions about the Worcester Schools were generalized without the details that, in my opinion, a person would need to hit the ground running as our school superintendant.
Candidate Allen talked about the need to make the Worcester Schools more efficient. She also touted her years as principal of Norback School. Like Dr. Binienda, Dr. Allen spoke in general terms. Nonetheless, I was impressed with her sense of organization and place.
I suppose there will be another meet and greet after the Worcester School Committee appoints Dr. Binienda as next Superintendant of the Worcester Public School District.
I think that Dr. Rodrigues will continue to work diligently and loyally as an Assistant Superintendant until the time some school system sees his abilities and experience and steals him away.
It is my opinion that Dr. Allen has the ability to turn around a school system in receivership.
I give Kudos to Dr. Mulcahy for throwing her hat into the ring.
Time will tell if Worcester will make a good decision on Monday.
The lives of our children depend upon it.