An Open Letter to Newark's New Superintendent
Dear Superintendent Anderson,
Congratulations! I can only imagine the excitement and anticipation that you feel upon your appointment as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools. I can also imagine the enormous weight of responsibility that you must feel given that the collective future of tens of thousands of children has been entrusted to you and the school district that you now lead.
Leaders can’t help but carry the aspirations and longings of others. The paradox of leadership is that one must simultaneously push for change while allowing self-learning and community education and support to unfold. While there is no lack of commitment to doing what is good and right for children, how you do something in Newark matters almost as much as what you do. Respect for tradition, recognizing the pride that folks have in their community, and allowing the voices of many to be considered along with the counsel of a few, will help you shoulder the weight of leadership and the challenges of a complex governance structure.
There has been much focus on the process of selecting you as our next Superintendent, and I think it is appropriate to acknowledge the fact that you chose Newark as well. The reality of the situation is that the people being considered for such a high level position are likely to be under consideration for any number of positions. Given your chosen profession, a desire to make a difference in the lives of others must be important to you. That you were drawn to and chose to act on that desire here in Newark, says a lot about what matters to you and that is going to matter to everyone here.
It is no secret that there are differences of opinion about current reform efforts and future plans for creating an effective and efficient system for preparing all of our children for college or a career. The challenge will be to diminish the destructive potential of conflict and to constructively harness the energy that will accelerate the educational renaissance that our children deserve.
The Newark Education Trust is Newark’s Local Education Fund. Part of the Public Education Network, the Trust is committed to ensuring a quality public education for all of Newark’s children. Before we begin to explore strategies and tactics, before we engage the community in a public and passionate conversation about plans, programs, projects, and policies, we have this moment to pause and acknowledge that we stand united around a single mission- to make sure that each and every child in Newark has access to the education they will need to be successful in the world in which they will live.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Newark Education Trust, I welcome you as superintendent of the Newark Public Schools. We look forward to working collaboratively with you as well as educators, community members, policy makers, teachers and administrators, non-profit and foundation leaders, corporate and faith-based leaders to achieve a goal that is bigger and more important than anything we could ever do separately – to prepare our children for their future.
Newark Education Trust