Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Education

Ex-Owens president wants TPS job

Only one person has come forward as a non-traditional candidate for the job of superintendent of Toledo Public Schools — a disappointment for board members who say they've heard the public cry for the district to be run more like a business.

Former Owens Community College President Christa Adams told the school board she's interested in applying for the job and will be interviewed Wednesday.

As president of one of the nation's larger community college systems, Ms. Adams gained accolades as an important leader who broke through the so-called gender glass ceiling of executive management.

At the end of her tenure, Ms. Adams came under fire for presiding over the loss of a key accreditation for the college's associate's degree nursing program. She retired in January, and the college has been working to win back its accreditation.

The Blade attempted to reach Ms. Adams on Wednesday morning to discuss her desire to run TPS, but by the afternoon she had not yet returned a call.

The Toledo Board of Education interviewed three candidates Monday night who have experience running K-12 systems. After the meeting, the board said it planned to interview several non-traditional candidates. Potentially that meant candidates from higher education, military, and corporate circles.

School board members had hoped more would be interested in the job, which would no doubt be a challenging task with the school system facing mounting deficits, drawn out union negotiations, vocal criticism from the public, and an economy with persistently high unemployment.

A second unnamed candidate withdrew his or her name late Monday night after the school board meeting, said board President Bob Vasquez.

He said some candidates from the business world shy away from the job because of its public nature. There's a lot of debate about every issue and everyone has an opinion, he said.

In the corporate, military, and higher education worlds, the chiefs and leaders are generally more autonomous.

School systems around the country have hired non-traditional superintendents with mixed results.

Board member Larry Sykes said he had several candidates in mind but said they weren't interested and were making high salaries in the private sector.

The TPS job would potentially pay from $200,000 to $400,000 a year, based on what other superintendents around the country make. The board would have to approve a salary range.

Current Superintendent John Foley, who is scheduled to leave at the end of next month, was paid $219,553 last year.

Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at:

ckirkpatrick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.

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