Favorite

Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now? 

Just a year ago, our community was reeling from the loss of the Little Rock School Board and then the forced resignation of the superintendent. Tensions were high, and the smart move by the state was to make the untraditional hire of Baker Kurrus, a longtime Little Rock businessman and a former member of the Little Rock School District's board. Hiring him proved to be the salve this community and this school district needed.

Therefore, state Education Commissioner Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.

If Kurrus' leadership had caused the people of Little Rock to lose faith in our schools, nonrenewal might be acceptable or even advisable. However, hope for Little Rock schools is higher now than it has been in years. But that hope has been dashed.

As Kurrus said at a press conference at the Arkansas Department of Education on Tuesday — and it's something he's said repeatedly since he became the LRSD superintendent — where education occurs is in the classroom between a dedicated teacher and his or her student.

Yet the environment that allows that important interaction to occur is largely determined by the quality and stability of a school system and its leadership.

No one — not even Arkansas Department of Education leaders — doubts that Kurrus has provided strong and transformational leadership for the LRSD for all of 10 months now. In fact, many agree that Kurrus took on a challenge that few others would have the guts to do.

When he did, he did so passionately and employed his skillful leadership style to empower his employees, build relationships with and gain support from diverse groups within the community, and initiate large and needed changes in system organization and physical facilities.

Kurrus is admired by teachers, administrators, parents and community members alike for his compassion, his visibility in every school in the district, his analytical use of data to plan for change and his vision for a school district that not only makes Little Rock proud, but serves each and every LRSD student.

Anyone who's listened to him talk about his plans and visions knows Kurrus looked forward to continuing his work in the district.

Commissioner Key said at Tuesday's press conference that Kurrus has served his usefulness. So he unilaterally decided to hire a new superintendent (which by law he's allowed to do, but which in the spirit of doing what's best for Little Rock is highly questionable). He said he made the decision and Gov. Hutchinson approved.

Unfortunately, this action by the commissioner — with approval from the governor — harms any trust the state had earned by its appointment of Kurrus less than a year ago.

Therefore, we ask: Why now? Why institute a change in leadership at this precarious point in time? Our state leaders need to hear from all of us in hopes that we can continue the impressive progress we have made with Kurrus.

We are joined by Greg Adams, John Adams, Rebecca Finney, Eugene Levy, Debra Milam and Vince Miller in submitting this opinion.

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Antwan Phillips

  • Don't boo, work

    Some have called Obama's remark the call to action the country needs this election. This is only partially true.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Architecture lecture: Sheila Kennedy on "soft" design

    Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.
  • UA's Walton School eyes downtown location for executive ed program

    The Walton College of Business is working to expand its executive education by opening an office in downtown Little Rock that would offer non-degree programs to the health, banking and finance and retail industries in Central Arkansas, the school confirmed today.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • No relief for renters

    If you are hoping to see new laws that improve rights for people who rent homes or apartments in Arkansas, you will find disappointing two bills proposed so far this legislative session — SB 25, by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), and HB 1166, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs). Even if both bills become statute, Arkansas would still have the worst landlord tenant laws in the country.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Let them eat cake

    An unproductive and harmful bill attempting to curb obesity passed easily out of committee last week at the state legislature. House Bill 1035 attempts to address this serious public health issue by preventing poor families who rely on SNAP (the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) from purchasing certain items such as candy and sodas.
    • Jan 26, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation