As most should know by now, long-time educator, administrator and school system Director Dr. Rick Denning will retire effective June 2011, following a successful 17-year career with Cleveland City Schools. The city school board is already embarking on a plan of action.
As previously announced, the school system will work closely with the Tennessee School Board Association in a nationwide search for qualified applicants. Indeed, these must be professionals with unlimited experience — and creative vision — in running a large public school system.
An opening step in this critical search is to assemble ideas from others — those who have a vision of how they want their city school system administered, the kind of person who should do it and how the system should approach its future. This includes the path it should take and how it will partner with the Cleveland and Bradley County area community.
First, school board members will meet Thursday in a joint conference with the Cleveland City Council in a luncheon at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. This will allow school board members to exchange ideas with the Council whose interest in a strong education system is just as strong — and perhaps even stronger. A highly acclaimed education system is a huge incentive for families, businesses and industries wishing to relocate.
Developing a strategy with the Council is Thursday’s first phase.
The public gets involved later in the day.
Beginning at 6 p.m., the city school board will host a public forum at Cleveland Middle School. This is truly a rare — and appropriate — chance for community residents to get involved in shaping the school system’s future.
In a front-page article published in Monday’s edition, Cleveland Board of Education chairman Peggy Pesterfield told Banner staff writer Linda Starcher the selection process is critical. To make the right decision, school board members need public input.
In Peggy’s words, “Selecting a new director is important to the whole community. It’s probably the most important decision the school board will ever make. We need the community’s assistance.”
It is a direction we applaud. We strongly endorse its design and intent.
Like the school board chairman, we encourage residents to attend and to express your opinions. Your attendance is especially critical if you have children attending the city school system either now or in the future. This is a golden opportunity for you to have a hand in shaping your child’s education.
School board members will attend. But, to lend an even more objective direction, two TSBA representatives will facilitate the open discussion. They are Dr. Tammy Grisson, TSBA executive director, and CaNesha Gordon, TSBA member services assistant.
As we have espoused on countless occasions, nothing is more critical in a child’s future than the provision of a quality, systematic and relevant education — one whose direction is molded by the needs of the child, the talent levels of the teachers and the untiring involvement of concerned parents.
And that parental involvement must be two-pronged. First, it must be a hands-on approach in building a child’s interest in the educational process; and second, it must be an ongoing partnership with the school system in assuring that local standards are staying abreast of the changing times.
Support the future of the Cleveland City School System.
Bring your interest, your opinions and your voice to Thursday’s public forum.