Infighting on RCSD school board as member calls for reset in superintendent search

May 03, 2019 06:39 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The state says the Rochester City School District is in chaos, and now News10NBC is learning there's infighting on the school board -- the group that's supposed to be righting the ship. 

One of the board's newest members, Judith Davis, called Friday for a reset in the superintendent search. She called for an investigation into the very board she sits on for violating the rules of executive session, but then she also admitted she hadn't raised her concerns directly with her fellow board members.    


Davis says she's getting bombarded with questions from the community about how the four candidates for superintendent were selected.

"People keep asking me, how did we get here? And I can't tell them because all of that was decided in executive session," Davis said.

She went on to question why so much of the board's discussions are in executive session and then basically said they should start the superintendent search all over again.  

"I believe we need a reset, a reset of the superintendent search process with the community at the table of decision," Davis said. "I believe we should allow the community to offer a community candidate."

On a conference call with the commissioner of the New York State Department of Education last week, News10NBC asked her about this superintendent search.

Jennifer Lewke, News10NBC Investigative Reporter: "Do you trust the school board to choose the next superintendent of a district so desperately in need of strong leadership?" 

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia: "Well, let me clarify specifically, the role of the school board is very clear that they are the ones that select a leader and superintendent for their district. It is my place, however, and I always talk to school board members across the state about how serious that selection is and will be for the work that's done in their district.

News10NBC reached out to the other board members Friday. We spoke with two of them who said that Davis has participated in the entire process from the start and didn't come to them with any of these concerns before holding a press conference Friday.

Either way, the four candidates that have been chosen as finalists in the superintendent search, will be in town this weekend. 

Here's the schedule of the forums this weekend: 

Saturday, May 4

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. - Dr. Sito Narcisse with parent and student group; Dr. George Eric Thomas with RCSD employee and community group

2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. - Dr. Sito Narcisse with RCSD employee and community group; Dr. George Eric Thomas with parent and student group

Sunday, May 5

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. - Mr. Terry Dade with parent and student group; Dr. Devon Horton with RCSD employee and community group

2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. - Mr. Terry Dade with RCSD employee and community group; Dr. Devon Horton with parent and student group

All events are at the Freddie Thomas Learning Center on Scio Street. All the forums will be livestreamed on RCSD's website.

Click here for more information on each finalist. 

News10NBC will continue to follow the woes of the Rochester City School District as they try to find a new leader and pull themselves out of a troubling time.


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