Letter: Leaders should have vision of healthy school district

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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


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One thought on “Letter: Leaders should have vision of healthy school district

  1. Mike R.

    What we need is to consolidate Asheville City Schools with Buncombe County Schools and have ONE school district for the County/City . ACS is too small a district to justify the needed admin and support overhead. Merging into Buncombe County Schools would not change much of the student assignment; although it could provide greater choice for those wanting to attend different schools. And Asheville located schools would benefit from the larger, better run operation of Buncombe County school organization. And taxpayers (yes taxpayers) would get a much needed break. I’m fed-up with paying extra in Asheville for such a poorly run system.

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