Revere superintendent aspirants quizzed

by Sheldon Ocker

The three finalists for the post of Revere superintendent underwent a battery of questioning from four groups of stakeholders in a special board of education meeting on April 18 at the high school.

Administrators, teachers, members of the board and residents of the Revere community separately interviewed each candidate for 45 minutes in different rooms.

Eighty-six community members signed up to ask questions but only 37 (plus several students) came to the meeting. It was speculated that the advertised length of the session, 4 hours, 15 minutes (it actually lasted 4 ½ hours) discouraged some people from attending.

Those who attended submitted questions on index cards before and during the interviews. Representatives from Summit Educational Service Center led the meeting, asked the written questions and elicited reactions to each candidate. Clear positive and negative opinions of community members were to be presented to the board.

Revere Middle School Principal Bill Conley was first to face community questioners who liked his passion for Revere, his track record in the district and his understanding of Revere’s culture.

They were disappointed that he did not acknowledge any weaknesses in the school system, and some people wondered if he would be up to making hard decisions. Residents also took note that he had no experience as an administrator.

The next interviewee was Michael Acomb, director of business/personnel and CEO of Solon City Schools. Some questioners saw his experience in many areas as a positive. Others liked the way he presented himself as a leader.

Some residents felt Acomb should have put more stress on the importance of serving the student body, and others noted his unfamiliarity with Revere. Acomb pointed to his versatility as a participant in many outside activities, but some questioners wondered if he might be overextended.

The toughest questions were reserved for Dan White (one question concerned transgender students), superintendent of Keystone Local Schools in Lorain County. Many residents were impressed by his candor and willingness to use personal incidents to demonstrate his ideas.

Other questioners gave significance to an earlier visit to Revere, when White took time to watch the school’s presentation of “Cinderella,” even though he has no connection to the district. Some residents thought it was important that he addressed social and emotional issues.

But community members wondered how he would adapt coming from a smaller (1,450 students), lower performing district. ∞