Dance breaks the rules for school superintendents [Letter]

December 18, 2013

After reading your report about the moonlighting of Baltimore County's school superintendent, I am going to start a coaching school for superintendents ("Dance quits consulting job with company doing business with school system," Dec. 14).

Since the current superintendent only had principal training, I am sure he would find my curriculum both challenging and relevant.

The first lesson would deal with the basic rules for a highly paid school superintendent:

(1) Read you contract before you sign it. Know what it says. Abide by it to the letter.

(2) Keep your eye on the ball. As superintendent of a large school system that is "building the curriculum plane as you fly it," you need extra focus and attention on the needs of your teachers and staff. You have no time for anything else, as many are floundering.

(3) If someone offers you an additional job outside of the school system, seek written approval from your school board before you accept any position. A clear understanding of (2) above would most likely prevent you from even considering a part-time consulting job with a company that does business with your school system.

(4) If you make a mistake, admit it promptly. Especially in the arena of conflict of interest, there is no need to justify an error ("nothing is being done wrong"); admit it and move on.

And be sure to ask for forgiveness from those taxpayers who placed their confidence in you. Remember, they expect you to actually fly that plane.

I am working on subsequent lessons, and would be happy to train a superintendent for a lot less than $15,000. In fact, I'd do it for free. The teachers and students deserve it and our current superintendent obviously needs it.

Craig Laferty, Timonium

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