Our View: A troubling campaign

June 28, 2011 12:18:00 PM



If you have your eye on the Columbus Municipal School District lately, you might think the superintendent position is up for election. 


It''s easy to make this mistake. Considering the following:



It appears Liddell has been shamelessly campaigning for the full-time job, from day one, as if she''s running for office. 


We fear that Liddell''s maneuvering will not only skew the selection process, but may lead to ill-feeling if she is not chosen. 


Don''t misunderstand us; we''re not saying Liddell is not the person for the job -- though her behavior since Phillips'' departure raises grave doubts -- we''re saying let the search process play out in an evenhanded and deliberate manner. The Columbus School Board was remiss in appointing an interim to the position who covets the job to the extent Liddell obviously does. A wiser choice would have been someone who could calmly and capably steer the ship while a search took place, someone like retired assistant superintendent David Sullivan, for instance. 


Phillips left Columbus schools earlier this month to take a job as head of schools in Sumner County, Tenn. Soon thereafter, the local school board tapped the Ray and Associates search firm to find his replacement. Coincidentally, Ray and Associates is the same firm that wooed Phillips away from Columbus. 


Over the past four years, the city schools have begun innovative programs such as magnet schools and built the district''s first new school in decades. 


In an effort to maintain that momentum, Columbus schools'' leaders have chosen to seek outside help to find the district''s next CEO. 


It''s a decision that should be based on experience, leadership record and a variety of intangibles. It''s not a popularity contest. And it shouldn''t be. 


At the end of the $15,000 search, Liddell very well may be that person. Even so, her decision to launch herself into the spotlight and all but plant a victory flag is troubling.