I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Camden Super Appointment Rushed With NO Community Input!

This is incredible:
The New Jersey State Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting Monday to vote on Gov. Christie's selection for Camden superintendent. Paymon Rouhanifard, 32, of New York, was announced Wednesday as Christie's pick for the next Camden school chief. The state board is expected approve the selection. 
Since it is a state-run district, the state board will also set Rouhanifard's salary. One state board approval is complete, Rouhanifard will begin his job as head of the most troubled district in the state. 
Rouhanifard, as we reported today, will have a mentor assigned as he learns the ropes of being superintendent. He will also have a large support staff sent in by the state. In addition to the 14-employee Regional Achievement Center, which was created last year to help turn around the district's 23 failing schools,between 15 to 20 consultants are also helping with the transition to a state-operated district. Among those brought in to help: three former New Jersey superintendents; a former Chief Financial Officer of the New York City Public Schools, a former partner at KPMG Consulting, and the state’s Assistant Commissioner for Talent. 
Monday's board meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the state Department of Education, 100 River View Plaza in Trenton. [emphasis mine]
Let me get this straight:

Christie is appointing a very young man to the toughest school leadership job in the state -- a man with a grand total of only six years experience in education. Rouhanifard only taught for two of those years, and spent the other four as a central office bureaucrat; he has never run a school, let alone a district. He has no administrator certifications or advanced degrees that would qualify him to run a New Jersey school system unless (thanks to Christie) it is designated as "failing."

And we have no idea about Rouhanifard's views on school funding, charter school oversight, collective bargaining, or any of a host of critical issues for Camden's community.

But the state BOE will vote on his appointment this Monday morning, which gives the Camden community, the teachers union, career staff and administration, and students no time to properly vet him, hear his opinions, or simply meet him.

Furthermore, the state thinks so little of Rouhanifard's abilities as a leader that they are sending in 15 to 20 consultants, including three former superintendents, to "help" in the process. What does this say about the state's own views on Rouhanifard's qualifications? Why won't they let him select his own staff to run the district?

I ask you again: would the parents, teachers, students, and community members of any suburban school district in New Jersey stand for this?



I have come to the conclusion that Paymon Rouhanifard is not the right man for this job; however, I fully understand that others may disagree. That's fine...

But shouldn't the good people of Camden and all of New Jersey have a full vetting of this man before he is placed into what is arguably the most difficult school leadership job in America?

This is the email address for the State Board of Education office:

stateboardoffice@doe.state.nj.us
If you think the confirmation of Paymon Rouhanifard should not be rushed through without a full vetting and meetings with the teachers, students, parents, and citizens of Camden, let the state board know - politely, of course.

Chris Christie: "Paymon has a proven track record..."

6 comments:

Mrs. King's music students said...

I think the Camden community, students and teachers lost their right/ability to weigh in on this appointment precisely because of the unethical actions of the BOE, school leaders and the CEA. Since BOEs, school level admins and union reps in Princeton and Hopewell don't act like their Camden counterparts, it's unlikely students and teachers there will be thrown under the same bus.

giuseppe said...

In other news across the Delaware River in PA land: Nicholas Trombetta, a onetime wrestling coach who founded the wildly successful PA Cyber Charter School, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of fraud and tax charges.
A 41-page indictment made public this morning outlined the federal government's allegations against Mr. Trombetta and his accountant, Neal Prence.
"This investigation is active and continues," U.S. Attorney David Hickton said during a press conference this morning at the FBI field office on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Federal investigators tallied the amount they said Mr. Trombetta stole at $990,000.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/federal-grand-jury-indicts-pa-cyber-charter-school-founder-nick-trombetta-and-his-accountant-700493/#ixzz2cqXUFElA

Michael Fiorillo said...

Well, since this Bestest, Brightest, Excellentest, Boldest Disrupter looks like an overgrown middle school student, perhaps they needed to appoint an overseer and chaperone for him.

That's OK, though, since he obviously got to where he is today by doing what he is told.

giuseppe said...

From the philly.com article: "Rouhanifard, as we reported today, will have a mentor assigned as he learns the ropes of being superintendent. He will also have a large support staff sent in by the state. In addition to the 14-employee Regional Achievement Center, which was created last year to help turn around the district's 23 failing schools,between 15 to 20 consultants are also helping with the transition to a state-operated district. Among those brought in to help: three former New Jersey superintendents; a former Chief Financial Officer of the New York City Public Schools, a former partner at KPMG Consulting, and the state’s Assistant Commissioner for Talent." Is this army of mentors, minders, nurse maids, amahs, nannies and consultants working for free and out of the goodness of their hearts or will they be compensated for all their aiding and abetting? Gee, if Czar Chris had just selected an experienced administrator with a real proven track record then maybe they would not have needed this massive contingent of minders in the first place. It will be interesting to see what the compensation package will be for Paymon. Maybe he'll work for free or a dollar a year?

Mrs. King's music students said...

Far better he should enroll in supt program at U Penn where he'll get mentored by James Lytle and Priscilla Dawson? Yes THAT Pricscilla. Re: indicted for what she did to 120 ninth graders in Trenton - now mentoring traditional route supts at U Penn

giuseppe said...

From bluejersey.com: "Rouhanifard will be on a two-year taxpayer-funded development program to obtain the required credentials. He does not have a Master's degree, which is required by most superintendents, and will be "earning" $210,000 annually - well beyond the cap set for other superintendents, based on a waiver granted by Christie's Education Commissioner."