This past summer during my gym exercise, I overheard many local teachers discussing their plans to pull up roots and move to Uruguay in South America. Sounded like an interesting migration; cheaper cost of living, practically free health care (touted to be better than USA) and just a relief from the "nightmare in School District 2".
Like many school systems around the country, the largest one in Montana, School District 2 in Billings, is facing budget troubles. The leader of any school district, legislative district, State or Country can have a hard time keeping their job in a tough economy.
The local school board for District 2 experienced a huge increase in public comment and input during the last few months leading up to the forced departure of the superintendent. People were gathered together, carrying signs and chanting their cause.
The school board members, an all volunteer force, were discussing how upset people were and what they could do about it. It would be fair to say that there was not overall agreement in the school board group about what the cause of the dissent was among the teachers, administration and the public. In fact, many feathers were being ruffled from several sides. SD2 Trustees voted to terminate the Superintendent's contract and buy him out.
This whole time, during the public school board meetings, we never heard from the superintendent. He was there, sitting, with his lips zipped. He did bring an attorney, which is perfectly reasonable, but still, why so quiet? Could this be part of the problem? Communication skills, zip?
I hope the job search for the next superintendent includes the criteria of "great communicator". Maybe you need a couple of people to serve in this job, or at least a "press secretary" who can communicate to the public.
A skilled administrator cannot lead without being a good communicator. People are much more willing to forgive shortfalls if they "feel" like their leader is driving them down the right road. Sometimes you have to take a couple of turns, but if the pack doesn't know why you're going down that different road, they'll think you're on the wrong one!
Uruguay is a long way from Billings Montana. We need seasoned teachers in our district, after all, we have some of the highest testing students in the country right here. They didn't get that way without good teachers, administrators, board and public.
This is just my humble opinion :)