No experience necessary

Los Angeles Unified’s new superintendent will be an retired admiral with no education experience. It’s becoming common to hire a superintendent who comes from law, business, finance or the military, reports the LA Times.

(Navy Vice Adm. David L.) Brewer’s assets include leadership ability, charisma and a resume that is spotlessly clean of any experience running a school district, or even working for one.

Outsiders may have managerial experience but few are prepared for the viciousness of school district politics.

(Outgoing LA Superintendent Roy) Romer has said that, even as a former governor of Colorado and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he was unprepared for the politics in Los Angeles, with their cross-cutting ethnic currents and hidden shoals of personal rivalries.

The school board hired Brewer without consulting Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who’s taking more control over the city’s schools. Apparently, the admiral wowed ’em at the interview. He’s the son and husband of teachers. Go to School Me for more.

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  1. Considering what some of the “professional” school administrators have done, they just might think that no experience was a plus.

  2. Hunter McDaniel says:

    We tried the same thing (an ex-military superintendent) in Boulder about 10 years ago. It only took a couple of years for the educrats to chew him up and spit him out.

    Military commanders are used to issuing orders and having them, well, obeyed. Nothing is that simple in the education system.

  3. “Military commanders are used to issuing orders and having them, well, obeyed”…are things really that simple in the military? Many senior officers have served in assignments in which they must deal with other military branches (not under their command), defense contractors, members of congress, executive-branch politicians, etc. My post about Atlas missile development provides an example of just how gnarly it can be–granted, an exceptional case and Gen Schreiver was an exceptional man. But there’s a lot of military activity that doesn’t look like parade-ground drill.

  4. Hunter,

    John Stanford had a pretty successful tenure at Seattle.