Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gorman looking forward to anonymity

When he announced his resignation from the head of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Peter Gorman's staff said he would have nothing else to say to the press. Which left us with questions, frankly, since he's still on the public payroll as superintendent till Aug. 15. (OK, we always have questions). He might not be talking to us anymore, but he did answer questions this morning at a meeting of the Small Business Professionals of Charlotte.

According to tweets from people at the meeting, Gorman had plenty to say about his five-year tenure with CMS, and also answered questions. Joseph Margolis, a freelance copywriter, said he was among about 25-30 people present. He sent out a tweet quoting Gorman as telling the crowd: "I'm at a unique phase in my career. Ask me anything!"

According to the folks tweeting, these were some of the highlights of Gorman's talk:

  • He is "looking forward to anonymity."
  • He will not be involved in finding his replacement.
  • There have been 200 principal changes in five years.
  • Thomasboro Elementary is the most expensive school to educate kids; Ballantyne elementary is the least expensive.
  • Our great teachers don't like poor teachers, want room to do their job well and get good compensation.
  • CMS will pay the price for the severe cuts we've had to do, especially in high schools.
  • As long as we cluster poverty in particular schools, we're going to have challenges.
Since he hasn't made himself available to the press, I tweeted some of the attendees and asked them to ask him what his role will be. Since he's in office two more months, it doesn't seem unreasonable to wonder what he'll be doing until he leaves for his new job with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Is he superintendent in name only for the next two months? Do all these reforms he's been pushing come to a screeching halt? It all might become clearer tomorrow, when the school board meets at 6 p.m. to begin mapping out the search for his replacement.

Margolis says attendees did ask him my question about his role for the next two months. Gorman's answer: he's going to be the superintendent as long as the board has him, and until the day he leaves. Which doesn't exactly clarify my question. But apparently Gorman isn't planning to clear it up -- at least not to the press, anyway. Margolis tells me the superintendent reiterated at the meeting that he isn't making any further comments to the media.

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