School Board Gives Vote of Confidence to School Superintendent Latham

The School Committee’s 4-3 vote against posting the superintendent’s position was a close call for Catherine Latham. She dodged a bullet when the school committee decided she should stay on rather than to advertise the position and look for someone else.

Those of us who listened to the three hours of testimony and debate about the issue were impressed with the passion that was brought before the school committee by residents who deeply care about the education their children are receiving from the Lynn school system.

Also impressive were the testimonials given by Superintendent Latham’s colleagues, some of whom are her closest supporters.

Those testimonials and especially one given by Lynn English High School Principal Thomas Strangie, were professional, to the point but more importantly, from the heart. After all, that’s what really counts when all is said and done.

Strangie’s words for his superintendent evoked a wide round of applause when he was finished and justifiably so.

The bulk of the comments made by all those who testified pointed to the fact that Superintendent Latham is deeply involved in what she is doing. If everything in the school system is not perfect, we came away from such talk with the understanding that she gives her job her all.

Especially notable is that this is a woman who works late, who is in early, who fully participates during weekends and who has a good idea about what she is doing.

Complaints directed toward her should have been directed toward the city’s plight – that is – having too many old schools that are inefficient and in some cases decrepit.

The complaints should have been directed at a very large and difficult to manage student body made up of thousands of students who come from broken homes where English is a second language.

There is no antidote for plugging the gaps that come to exist when so many students given so much time and attention by dedicated staff leave the school system and move somewhere else. Transiency is a big problem.

It is not the superintendent’s fault that the school system needs millions more in funds than it has. Running the schools isn’t all about money but try to run them without enough of it.

Principal Strangie hit the proverbial nail on the head when he noted that for the most part, only a relatively few parents who are feeling hard done by come out to complain about the school system and the superintendent. He said the vast majority of parents feel comfortable about what is going on in the Lynn Public Schools.

He is absolutely right.

The School Board’s vote against posting the superintendent’s position was, in this instance, a profile in courage.

The superintendent’s reputation, indeed, even her job, should not rely on the negative feelings about her of a relative few when the huge majority supports her good work.

We may not agree with some of the superintendent’s policies but we agree that she works hard, has the support of important colleagues as well as that of a vast majority of parents of school children in this city.

She should be left to do her work.

7 comments for “School Board Gives Vote of Confidence to School Superintendent Latham

  1. Me
    May 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    This “paper” if you can call it that is terrible. In one article, you state that the school system is only filled with those who can’t afford to go elsewhere, that Mr. Resnick did not send his daughter to Brickett because the school system was run like a prison system with 29 students to a classroom. Here you state the problems are solely the result of poor school conditions and the student body who don’t speak English or come from broken homes. Which is it? If the super is doing a great job, why don’t you send your children to Lynn Public Schools?

  2. Me
    May 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Remember this?:

    “Even though I grew up in Marblehead, I think I understand something about
    urban school systems and changing post industrial cities. I trusted the
    Chelsea School system for my sons because I knew the place so well –
    and a visit there by someone such as yourself would reveal to you that
    not all impoverished communities have to treat their public schools like
    a prison system. I have two younger daughters. They both attend Cohen
    Hillel Academy in Marblehead. I live on Ocean Street. My youngest
    daughter, who is African American, attended the Brickett School when she
    first came to us. God, was the Brickett School dreary.  Class size 29.
    It was a depressing scene. I liked the principal, who now heads the
    Harrington. She was classy, but beset by ineffectual leadership at the
    highest levels and a school system run like a prison system. So I took
    Naudia out of the Lynn Schools and put her with my daughter Kate at the
    private school – where Kate has been since she began kindergarten. Class
    size at Cohen Hillel is about 10-12 with two instructors. Obviously, I
    wasn’t about to send my biological daughter to the Brickett School. ” -Josh Resneck, January 2012

    Please be consistent in your opinions.

  3. Lynn_mom
    May 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

     “only a relatively few parents who are feeling hard done by come out to complain about the school system and the superintendent.”

    How many parents of current students came to speak on Latham’s behalf?  NONE

  4. Sue_Walker
    May 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Three of our school committee members voted that night to post the position of superintendent.  Four voted against.  Not exactly the glowing vote of confidence you claim it is.  I was one of the parents that spoke that night in favor of posting the position, and If you recall, there were no parents that spoke on her behalf that told of a time she had helped or fixed a problem for them.  She has a very tough job; of that there is no doubt.  But she has been inaccessible to parents and our issues are not being addressed.  The vast majority of the testimonials on her behalf were given by people you call her “colleagues”, that would more appropriately be called her employees. Virtually all of those in faovr of posting the position were parents.  You call us a “relative few” of dissatisfied parents, and that shows me you are woefully uninformed.  Mr. Strangie’s (and your) assumption that the parents that were not there are satisfied with the current state of affairs is a leap, at best.  Many of the parents feel that they don’t even have a voice in this city…and unfortunately, this hearing has  proven them right. 

  5. stanley_wotring
    May 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Never before has there been enough dissatisfction with the current state of affairs where a public hearing was demanded by a significant number of parents who were Lynn residents and registered voters. The sheer length of the hearing illustrated the level of concern from the citizens of Lynn. The vote was close but not surprising. It often follows along the same lines on most of the contentious issues. When committee members read prepared statements like John Ford did, he not only disrespected the parents in the audience eho wanted not Dr. Latham gone, but the best person for a difficult job but also the supporters of Dr. Latham by telling them in effect “Your opinions don’t matter, my minds made up”. It seems the “bullet” Dr. Latham dodged landed in the foot of the Journal.

  6. Nina
    May 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    First of all, this school system is corrupt. Lynn English staff are predjudice and i’m going to throw out a name. Mr. Newhall, known staff member is a sob. He called my daughter a liar because of her lanyard which was confiscated by the security guard. ”007” Mr. Strangie cannot run a school if it were to save his life. He’s rude to the students and favors certain kids. Walks around like he is better than everyone else.. just a dysfunctional school.

  7. Anonymous
    August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I would actually like to throw in my two cents about this situation with the school system.
    I am a Senior Student that had attended Lynn English Senior High from 2009 to 2012;
    Thousands of observations have been done by me to prove that there truly is in fact a conspiracy theory within this particular school.

    Ever since former principal Andrew Fila had left and Strangie had taken over (despite the fact that he was Acting Principal until Fila’s official retirement), this school has gone into something that I like to call “The New Management”, a Conservative society that has begun to destroy every single thing that these students believe in and depend on to survive in their respective lives.

    Strangie had gotten John Pavia, who I ultimately know is a Malevolent Conservative, to be the Vice Principal for dealing with Grades 11 and 12.
    Because of Pavia’s negativity and torment upon English’s alumni, he has wrongfully suspended over 600 students for actions that are only worthy of a detention or a minor warning.
    If there is anything that I could say about him now, he is an “Administrator with No Windows”; he cares for nobody; he cares only about working and the destruction of what was a peaceful school society before the arrival of The New Management.
    I was wrongfully suspended twice because he had said that I had made statements that I would harm students, of which I had never done in both cases of this situation;
    Ten days, I had missed, because of his ignorance; he will never be forgiven for his negative actions.

    None of this drama would have happened if we had Libertarians and Democrats ruling the school’s staff and administration;
    Let me take this story back a bit to schools such as Woodrow Wilson Junior High, and Thurgood Marshall Junior High, two Libertarian Democratic schools that have better understanding of situations and leniency.
    Whenever I had a trouble with other students in these schools, the administration had actually found ways to prevent such situations from becoming worse by means of decent agreements; this had prevented people from being suspended left and right for minor factors.
    Now return to Lynn English Senior High, a school that has a Libertarian Democratic majority of students, but run by Conservatives and Republicans.
    They will bypass all information that is said by the Defendant(s) that could prevent them from getting in trouble, and it the Defendant(s) that are wrongfully sent away for a variable amount of days.

    This situation is a Political War; this is a war that has been the main topic of all school systems that present conspiracy theories up front or by other means;
    The Liberals and Democrats in English and other Conservative schools cannot take this anymore, which is why I, along with many other students and citizens that have heard of my troubles with this school, have revolted against them and are doing everything that we possibly can to expose the true troubles that they have created, their conspiracies, and the attempt to fire all administrators that have wronged the alumni for so many years in the past.

    We will not stop fighting to bring Liberty and Democracy into our schools here full-time.
    We will succeed, we will be free, we will save our future generations from suffering because Conservatives are attempting to take us down.

    That is all.

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