Goar withdraws and superintendent search restarted

Goar withdraws and superintendent search restarted

Anna Kleven, Sports Editor

After a ten month, million dollar search conducted by HYA executive search, Minneapolis Public Schools re-starting the search for a superintendent.

Two days after the school board announced that Sergio Paez would be the next superintendent, the Disability Law Center in Paez’s former district of Holyoke, Massachusetts, reported that students were physically abused by district employees under Paez.

Paez told the Star Tribune that he was aware of the allegations, had investigated into them, and found no evidence of abuse. On January 12th, the school board cancelled their invitation to Paez.

It was brought to attention that Michael Goar, the interim superintendent and one of search finalists, had ties to Paez. A principal named Stephen Zrike worked the Boston school district while Goar was superintendent. Zrike went on to replace Paez in Holyoke.

Goar responded to questions by saying that he did not even remember Zrike, but Goar has opponents for other reasons. Some are skeptical of his financial decisions, which allocated money away from the Davis Center and toward schools. The Reading Horizons curriculum, which was dropped after outcry about racist content, was adopted under Goar. And of course, he played a big role in hiring a the search firm that found Paez – and wasted 1 million district dollars.

It was presumed that the school board would elect Goar after Paez was dismissed, but protesters interrupted the January 12th meeting and prevented the vote. School Board members Jenny Arneson and Kim Ellison introduces a process proposal to re-start to the search process.

Two weeks later Michael Goar announced that he was removing his bid in an open letter to the school board and families. He wrote that his candidacy had become a “distraction” in the process.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched as our community and school board leaders have become increasingly fragmented and divided…I never expected that we would agree on everything, but we must all be unified on why we are here and we must remain focused on children and not on the disagreements and disrespect that continue to divide and distract us.

South Teachers React

Social Studies teacher Josh Fisher has suspicions about Goar’s motives. “I am a little concerned and also wondering what the story was behind his resignation,” he said.

Several teachers expressed hope that the second search will focus on finding candidates within the district. “I hope that the second time around there are more MPS employees involved in the search,” said English teacher Roxanne Becker.

“I hope that they involve more discussions and dialogues within the community and various communities in Minneapolis so that they’re choosing a candidate that has those interests in mind, not corporate reform interests,” agreed Fisher.

“Really, what does a superintendent change anyway? Change in the district happens in the classrooms!” said a teacher who wished to be anonymous.