Monday, July 18, 2011

Candidates Forum

Tonight the Board of Education held the public forum for the three finalist candidates for the Superintendent position. After several revisions, the format was as follows: the candidates were presented one at a time, spending about ten minutes introducing themselves, then roughly 45 minutes answering written questions submitted by the audience before the program started. I thought the forum was very good. We were able to get to know the candidates much better, and we were given evaluation forms to fill out along the way and submit at the end.

The program was scheduled to start at 5:30, and anyone who wanted to write a question was asked to arrive at 5:15 (but they continued to collect questions until about 5:40).

The room at 5:15, seats filling up fast.

There were many supporters of Portia Bonner in the audience. By luck of the draw, she went first. You can see some of the audience in the photo below--there were many extra seats being set up just after 5:30, out of shot in the photo, and there were a dozen or so people watching from the balcony. Definitely a standing-room only event.

Anthony Mazzullo was the second candidate to "interview" with us...

...which meant Kathy Ouellette was the last. The entire program lasted until 8:30. Kudos to everyone who stayed through the whole thing (those chairs are not the most comfortable ones to sit in for three hours!).

Although everyone in the audience was pretty tired by the end, there were quite a few interesting conversations about the educational issues raised. One major issue to be discussed was the importance of standardized test scores. Mazzullo and Ouellette were polar opposites on the topic. Mazzullo feels that there is too much emphasis placed on test scores, whereas Ouellette seemed to be a firm believer in basing all action on test score data. I'm not a big fan of test score data, since I rarely tested well. Certainly tests can be an indicator of progress or lack thereof, but information needs to be acquired from other sources. For example, surveying college professors to find out what skills are consistently missing from students coming from the public schools could be very helpful.

I'm not going to try to cover the entire Q&A at the forum (in fact, I missed a chunk of it when I had to step out to a meeting of the Hall of Fame committee). But for more information, you can check out Bryan Baker's Twitter feed. There will also be a write-up in the Republican-American.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was my impression that we were in for some big storms, so I decided, much to my disappointment in myself for being so cautious, to stay home.
When I checked into Channel 96, there it was, a live feed!
I watched all three candidates with GREAT interest.
Three very bright people with differing ideas. I liked some of each of them.
We may do well with any one of them, but it depends on the immediate and future needs of Waterbuy!.
I would like to have been able to pull what I liked from each of them and mix them together into an ideal candidate.
In the end, I was thrilled that so many people were there because I felt so bad that, in being invited, I was not able to attend.
Thanks to the Waterbury people for their great interest in the education of our children. Thanks to all others that went as well!
I have a good feeling about all of this!