Hartford
3:57 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Board of Ed Chairman Disappointed in Segarra, Says He’s Considering Next Steps

One day after Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra upended the search for a school superintendent at the last minute possible, the chairman of the city's board of education sat down with WNPR and expressed his displeasure.

David MacDonald became chairman of the Hartford board of education just last week.  He said he was disappointed in Segarra's call on Tuesday for a national search.  MacDonald says that Segarra's concerns about the transparency of the search for a new superintendent showed great disrespect.

"When I talked to him, he wouldn't really divulge any specifics as to what his concerns were.  He just kept referring to the process in general.  I stand by the process, the process was fair, it was transparent, and it was objective."

And, MacDonald says that the mayor -- who has no formal role in the selection of a superintendent -- could have voiced his concerns a lot earlier.

The board of education has for months been searching for a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Steven Adamowski.  After opting not to conduct a national search, the board formed a search committee and looked internally.

Two candidates applied -- one was a principal at a Hartford school, the other was a key Adamowski deputy, Christina Kishimoto.

The board was scheduled to make Kishimoto the district's new superintendent Tuesday night, but that changed when Segarra held his press conference.  And that process left MacDonald no choice but to cancel his scheduled meeting.

"As chair, my one focus is on the children of Hartford.  And I was not going to subject such an important decision to a circus atmosphere that would have ensued if we had held the board meeting that night."

MacDonald says the superintendent search committee will meet -- possibly this week -- to discuss Segarra's request that it start over and conduct a national search.

MacDonald also responded to a report on WNPR that highlighted how David Medina -- a spokesman for the board of education -- had done significant outreach on Kishimoto's behalf.

"My take on it is it was inappropriate behavior on his part, it should not have happened. I've been informed that he has been reprimanded."

MacDonald says that reprimand came from Adamowski himself.  Medina did not respond to requests for comment.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.