POLITICAL backwash drowns superintendent candidate." So reads the headline on a story March 4 in the Detroit Free Press concerning Richard C. Hunter, Baltimore's lame-duck school superintendent who is one of five finalists for the top school job in Detroit.
Reporter Brenda J. Gilchrist, who spent some time in Baltimore preparing the story, pictures Hunter as a man "in over his head" in Baltimore politics. "In a system where the mayor appoints the nine-member school board -- which can't spend more than $300 without city approval -- and the superintendent is a member of the mayor's cabinet, it is difficult to discern who is in charge," the story says.
It quotes Baltimore teacher Douglas Norwood: "If you're looking for leadership in the system and you're looking for change, you better keep looking." But Baltimore board member Charles Thompson takes up for Hunter: "I think the man is very qualified. I hate to see him leave here."
As for Hunter: "To be perfectly honest, I'm good. I just happen to be in an environment where there can only be one top dog."