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    Albany school board votes to open chief job to outside applicants

    parents at school board meetingDawn Kawamoto and several other parents of Albany school children wore a sign  “Open Process” at a board meeting Tuesday evening. Photo by Linjun Fan .

    The Albany Unified School District board voted Tuesday in favor of widely searching a new superintendent in response to a public backlash to Board President Miram Walden’s proposal to select an internal candidate.

    Four of five board members voted for the motion, while Walden abstained.

    “If the board could agree on internal candidates, doing that quickly could eliminate organizational chaos, ” said Walden. “That’s already happened. We are having an organizational chaos in my opinion. Therefore my goal has already lost. So what’s the fight?”

    Walden proposed to select a new superintendent, succeeding the incumbent William Wong who retires next June, among current employees of the district at a previous board meeting.

    The proposal aroused a widespread opposition among parents and the public in Albany, who believed that the job vacancy should open to all applicants and that the community should have a say in the selecting process.

    Two board members who initially favored internal candidates changed their mind after receiving strong protests from the public.

    Dozens of audience broke into loud applause several times during the meeting.

    Supporters of an internal candidate also voiced their anger at the board’s decision.

    “You cave in and give up your backbone here, ” said David De Hart, a member of Albany Teachers’ Union.

    The district will post advertisements for a new superintendent in two weeks, and will also convene a Community Advisory Committee for the public to participate in the process of selecting a new chief for Albany schools.

    The committee, which will be composed of about ten members from the community, will interview each candidate and give its evaluations to the board to make a final decision.

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