Denise Patterson resigned from her position as the superintendent of the Asheville City Schools in June 2019. The ACS held a series of meetings at the elementary schools to provide guidance and take input regarding the search for a new superintendent. I went to every one of them. The theme was all about Asheville culture and Asheville history: “We need a superintendent who knows Asheville, knows Asheville history and Asheville culture.” There was never a mention about the skill and background of the candidates. I would propose that we need a superintendent who has an image of a healthy school district and can lead ACS in that direction.
The school board hired Gene Freeman. He has resigned, I think unexpectedly. The indications from the Asheville Citizen Times article is that he failed because he does not know Asheville history and does not understand Asheville culture. The article makes no mention about his actual performance for the job I would have expected him to do. The talk is about his “inability to work with county commissioners” and would “work in partnership with the people.”
Was he a poor superintendent? I see no reason to think that he was.
The citizens of Asheville are being asked to vote for four new members of the Asheville school board. We need a new direction, and this will come from a school board that is from the outside. They say, “We need people who understand our unique situation.” No! We need people with an image of what a healthy school district looks like.
We need new blood on the school board.
—John S. Brigham