As he works to replace Boston School Supt. Tommy Chang, Mayor Martin Walsh said he wants to provide the community with opportunities to become involved in the search process.
Amid Chang’s abrupt resignation last week, Walsh is left searching for a replacement before the expiration of Chang’s five-year contract.
Walsh appointed Chang as superintendent in 2015. Chang’s departure has contributed to uncertainty surrounding school management.
The timing of Chang’s resignation was questioned in light of a lawsuit filed against Boston Public Schools. The suit alleges BPS disclosed student information to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) leading to a gang-related arrest.
In a public statement, Chang disavowed the claims by stating that “BPS will continue to welcome and support immigrant students in our schools, and honor their Constitutional right to a free and uninterrupted public school education.”
Rather than fixating on the circumstances of Chang’s departure, Walsh stressed forward-thinking transitioning to the next school year.
“My first concern is making sure the district is stable and that people are comfortable with us moving forward,” he said.
An interim has yet to be named, however Walsh said that the “interim person won’t be sitting back, not doing anything; that person will be moving forward.”
In the last superintendent search, which culminated in Chang’s employment, a Search Committee assisted Walsh’s decision. In a statement at the time, Search Committee Co-Chair Dr. Hardin Coleman described the qualities sought after in a superintendent as “a commitment to excellence and equity; bold, innovative thinking; and a sense of urgency to improve outcomes for all students.”
To involve the community, the Search Committee held public forums enabling students, parents, and faculty to express their collective opinion.
Fielding input from community members, including parents and the Boston Teachers’ Union, which have been vocal groups during previous superintendent searches, will likely be revisited, Walsh shared with The Renaissance while on his Mayor on Main trolley tour.
“We’re going to bring some people in to talk about what they think is the answer,” Walsh said. He plans to consult with students, principals, and teachers.
Ultimately, Walsh said he intends to deliver reassurance and align himself with the interests of the populace.
“I think that parents demand high quality across the board,” Walsh said. “We have to expect high quality across the board. And that’s something that we need to strive for.”
( Rebeca Pereira contributed to this report.)