The Tulsa School board has finished interviewing candidates for the district's top job. Tulsa's current superintendent Doctor David Sawyer will retire next month.
News on 6 education reporter Ashli Sims takes a look at the finalists. Over the past week, five candidates for the job visited Tulsa Public Schools.
Dr. Sidney Chip Zullinger led off the group; he started the nation's first merit pay program in Denver. Local newspapers reported he was ousted from his last job in Manassas, Virginia after four years of service. "I think with all the bumps and bruises that Iâ€™ve had as a school superintendent, the one thing that you can always find in me is that I run school for the kids."
Dr. Johnny Brown counts raising graduation requirements and implementing new curriculum as some of his accomplishments. "Iâ€™m prepared to work with all concerned in making the difference for assuring that again we continue the excellence of where we have excellence in place and building on that which is good." But he was bought out of his contract with DeKalb County public schools after two years. And Alabama newspapers reported Brown was accused of spending money improperly. Brown denied any wrongdoing.
Dr. Julia Earl heads up Nashua Schools
in New Hampshire, a district one-third the size of Tulsa Public Schools. She's only held the top job in New Hampshire for one year. She was an assistant superintendent in two other Texas school districts. "My real love and passion is teaching and learning and addressing student achievement. I believe that's one of the main things I can bring, I believe I also have the skill of bringing community support and working with the community to partner in our schools."
Dr. David Flowers has held the top job in Fargo, North Dakota
for the last seven years. During his tenure, one Fargo school was placed on the federal needs improvement list, but it got off after two years. He says the community is vital to raising achievement. "And then I think you need to engage those communities whose children you're trying to help in designing the solutions. I think itâ€™s presumptuous of us to believe that we can do it without them."
Dr. Michael Zolkoski brings 20 years of experience as a superintendent. â€œSchools are still about children. These are community schools. They don't belong to the superintendent nor the school board they belong to the community. And we need to make sure that every child has a great education.â€ In Brownsville, Texas
, Zolkoski saw the number of national merit scholars climb from 0 to 12. He says the increase came because they identified students with potential early and groomed them.
The Tulsa School Board will narrow the list of candidates to 2 later this week. To share your opinion, vote for one of the five candidates, by CLICK HERE