Meet Manchester's 3 school superintendent finalists
The finalists spent Thursday touring city schools and met with city and school officials, leaders of community groups, and teachers and support staff. They will visit more schools today and participate in a public forum at Memorial High School at 6:30 tonight.
The finalists have had experience with redistricting, dealing with tax caps and have a track record of improving student performance on standardized testing — all key issues facing Manchester, Ward 5 school board member Ted Rokas said.
At-large school board member Kathy Staub said all three candidates "would embrace the challenges" of running the state's largest school district with an estimated 15,500 students.
"I found them to be more in touch with what is happening in Manchester," said Gatsas, who chairs the school board. "I feel comfortable that we are on the right track (with them)."
Cash announced his resignation as superintendent of Memphis City Schools in January, when it merged with a neighboring district. The district has 103,000 students.
Cash was recognized for his role in reforming the district, but he also ran into controversy, including a proposal to set up a school-run police force, according to an article in the Commercial Appeal of Memphis.
Cash previously served as chief of accountability and system-wide performance at Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida. He also was superintendent of Martha's Vineyard Public Schools in Mass. and was associate dean at Howard University School of Education in Washington, D.C. where he also was assistant professor.
Livingston is the superintendent of the Fall Mountain Regional School District, which has 1,600 students and includes the towns of Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Langdon and Walpole. In January, three schools in the district received the Commissioner's Excellence in Education Award for student growth and achievement.
Ward is superintendent of the Franklin and Hill School Districts, which has about 1,300 students. She helped restructure curriculum and instruction, closed a school in response to changing space needs, hired instructional coaches to work with teachers and oversaw some of the highest gains in the state on New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) indicators.
In the first search, the three finalists came from districts significantly smaller than Manchester. One withdrew during his interview and the two others failed to muster votes of enough school board members to win the job.
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