Marathon Portsmouth school committee session yields no action on Supt. Krizic

The Portsmouth School Committee met in executive session for 3.5 hours tonight, and the 20-or-so citizens who were still hanging on at 10pm learned only that a new subcommittee would be formed to support the Superintendent. The two votes taken during the exec reportedly had to do with process — one to affirm their personnel review approach and the other, which failed, to suspend the rules. The minutes were then sealed, and the committee adjourned without taking up the regular agenda.

If this sounds confusing and incomplete, well, yeah, it was.

Everyone I talked to at the meeting — we had so much time that I was talking with people I *never* talk to — admitted they knew a tiny piece of the story. People said they knew it was about Superintendent Krizic (which was also apparently in Saturday's edition of the dead-tree news organ from the southern part of the island) but beyond that peg, the stories diverged like a game of telephone being played in a Kurosawa film.

I clearly don't know, and I'm not speculating.

The first two hours of the meeting, the school committee was closeted with their lawyers, leaving Krizic out with the public. Then came a brief break, people headed for bathrooms, still not talking to anyone, then they disappeared back into the little room.

But this time, it was *with* the Superintendent and *without* the attorneys.

That left an odd mix of constituencies waiting in the PHS library — a contingent from the Portsmouth Public Education Foundation, several from NEA Portsmouth, a big bloc of PCC types, and three of the Town Council (Robicheau, Kesson, and Staven) who stopped by after their meeting ended. PHS Principal Bob Littlefield was seen slipping in and out. There were a couple of parents, and, of course, the usual reporters. All waiting for what seemed oddly anticlimactic.

I mean, okay, we've now got a new subcommittee to help the Superintendent. Or something. (Guide? Monitor? Evaluate? Remains to be seen who's on it and what their actual charge is.) Seems like you might have been able to get to a result like that without all the secrecy, angst, and drama. Whatever went on for those first two hours with the lawyers on the clock must have been pretty interesting stuff.

And I thought I was taking this week off from blogging....

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, superintendent

New Portsmouth Supe owns message with meeting recap memos

SC Highlights
School Committee meeting highlights!

Continuing the tone of transparency set at last night's school committee meeting, new Portsmouth Supt. Lynn Krizic established a new communication approach today, sending out school committee meeting highlights through the district listserv.

The 1,100-word update contained all the major action items, specific details like names of appointees and dates of meetings for the 2011-12 year, and a precis of the discussion on each item.

While clearly not meant as a replacement for official minutes, this offers valuable — and timely — information, and I personally want to commend Supt. Krizic for taking this initiative. Now when Cheshire Kathy misses a meeting, she doesn't have to rely on me blogging it. We'll all be much happier.

If you'd like to sign up for the district listserv — and anyone can, you don't need to be a parent or guardian — just send an e-mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.RI.NET, leaving the subject line blank and including the following line in the body:

SUBSCRIBE PSD-L FirstName LastName

If you have a sig line, remember to delete it, since nothing else can be in the body of the e-mail. I got these instructions from the PSD web site here.

Editorial note: I'm a sucker for transparency.

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, superintendent, PSD

Portsmouth appoints 11 to superintendent search committee

The Portsmouth School Committee voted unanimously tonight to appoint 11 community members to a search committee for a new superintendent of schools.

In a brief meeting that followed a lengthy executive session, the committee discussed the mandate for the search team, and appointed Emily Copeland, Mary Correia, Michael Daly, Jeff Goss, Jerry Hobbs, Al Honnen, Bob Kiley, Kathy Melvin, John Robitaille, Eric Spiegel, and Laurie Stone.

"I would like to thank the many community members who submitted letters," said chair Cynthia Perrotti, adding that she was impressed by the "depth of folks with experience."

The actual charter of the team will be worked out jointly with the school committee, Perrotti said, but there was agreement that the task would be to bring forward three candidates, in unspecified order, for the full committee to consider.

To speed up the process, which Perrotti said they aimed to have complete by July 1, the committee intends to engage an executive search firm to do the initial screening.

"And the search committee is not going to operate in a vacuum," Perrotti said, suggesting that they would seek input from town residents. "We want the community to be involved in order to help get the right criteria."

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, superintendent

School Committee to charter Supt. search, pick members tonight

The Portsmouth School Committee will be meeting this evening at about 7:30pm in the High School library to establish the charter for the Superintendent search subcommittee and pick members, according to the posted agenda.

If you're one of the reportedly 50 community members who sent in a letter of interest (THANK YOU!) this is a meeting you might want to attend.

The meeting will follow a Finance Subcommittee meeting which begins at 6:30, so the time is approximate. There's also an executive session posted, but it doesn't say whether that's before or after.

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, superintendent