Updated: Alonso's chief of staff withdraws name from superintendent search
Updated: Tisha Edwards, Alonso's chief of staff who traveled to East Baton Rouge last week to interview as a finalist for the parish's superintendent seat, withdrew her name from the running, according to a story published this week in Baton Rouge's newspaper, The Advocate.
Edwards, the mother of a city school graduate and a current student, said Wednesday that she chose to withdraw her name so that her son can finish his middle school education in Baltimore.
Edwards was one of six semi-finalists for the seat, and took part in a public interview before the East Baton Rouge school board on Jan. 23. The EBR parish has held an unusually public search for a new superintendent, devoting an entire website to the search, and posting interviews on You Tube.
You can watch Edwards' interview, during which she is questioned for two hours, and discusses everything from her leadership style, to her efforts and accomplishments in the city, and the reforms she was hoping to bring to the struggling school system.
Tisha Edwards, right hand (wo)man and chief of staff for city schools CEO Andres Alonso, is a semifinalist for the superintendent seat in the East Baton Rouge Parish of Louisiana. According to Baton Rouge's local paper The Advocate, Edwards is one of six candidates who will be heading down south for a public interview in the next week.
She joins a pool of competitive candidates, including the parish's current Chief Academic Officer and a current superintendent, for the job. But she appears to be a serious one, according to Louisiana media reports, having been 15 recommended candidates from a list of 44 applicants, and ultimately one of six semifinalists solidified by a 8-1 vote of the the parish's school board earlier this month.
The East Baton Rough district has a website that makes public each candidates' CV and application. I poked around a bit, and it was interesting to learn a bit more about Edwards, who--despite her reputation for ruling with an iron fist--is referred to as the backbone of this system ( Many say she's responsible for the details behind the concepts). It also appears from her application that she was sought out by head hunters hired by the school district to conduct the search.
In her capacity as Alonso's chief of staff since 2009 and his special assistant the year prior to that promotion, Edwards highlights many of the accomplishments (negotiating union contracts, graduation rates, dropout rates, central office reorganizations, new schools) under Alonso as well as her stint as the founding principal of Baltimore Freedom Academy, which she led from 2003 to 2007. Before entering education, Edwards, who studied social work and law, made a career of social work and serving at-risk youth.
When contacted Wednesday, Edwards declined to comment at this time.
But, in Edwards' response to the application's question of "Why [East Baton Rouge]?" Edwards, who currently earns a salary of $175,000 as the second most powerful official in the school system wrote:"Being a native southerner, it has always been my ardent desire to return to the south to serve. EBR presents an opportunity to return home and assist my community in educating its children. It is my hope to use my professional experiences to help EBR to become a high-performing school system and leader in the region for educational reform."