The board and I guess the so called elites in the community, however thought we needed somebody to blow the system up. They wanted a change agent to stir the pot, and they certainly got one with Vitti.
Fast forward to now and we are looking for a new superintendent and there will be all sort of debates abut what type of leader we need but what I think we need most of all is a calming and steady influence, a leader to help us recover from the trauma of the last few years and I know when the board brought Willis in it was under the provision it would just be temporary but I think we may need to reconsider that.
I want a leader who was educator and went up through the ranks and one who knows Jacksonville would be invaluable as well. Vitti was barely a teacher and he moved around so much the only things he really knew were two men in a truck and hertz.
I want a leader who is going to listen to parents and teachers not millionaires from Ponte Vedra. I want a leader who is going to push back against corporate reforms like Charters and Teach for America.
I want somebody humble.
I think I am describing Pat Willis.
Now I don’t think Mrs. Willis would be here for five years or even three but I could see her sticking around a year or two more and perhaps grooming her replacement and I think this would open up lots of options as well.
Lets face it, whoever the board hires is going to have very limited knowledge about how Jacksonville, which is very complicated works. Instead of just dropping somebody into the deep end if we could have somebody shepherd and mentor them for a year or two then they couldn’t help but be more successful.
The board talks about making a decision for the long haul but the thing is every journey starts with a first step.