The Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) recently announced its selection of Dr. William R. Hite, Jr. as the next Superintendent/CEO of the School District of Philadelphia. Dr. Hite is the current superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). PGCPS is Maryland’s second largest school system, and the eighteenth largest in the nation with 135,000 students, 200 schools, and a budget of $1.6 billion.
Announcing the SRC’s selection, Chairman Pedro A. Ramos said, “Today, we take a giant step toward providing safe, high quality educational opportunities for all Philadelphia children. Dr. Hite is an eminent educator and a proven transformative leader.”
Mayor Michael A. Nutter stated, “I was very impressed with Dr. Hite’s passion and commitment to educating children, support for the professional development of teachers and principals, and his dedication to working with the broader Philadelphia community. He understands that a high performing, high expectation system of schools is critical to the future of the City of Philadelphia. I would like to thank Wendell Pritchett for leading this effort by chairing the search committee and to all of the members of the community who attended meetings, offered advice and were involved in this thorough process.”
“Philadelphia is one of America’s greatest cities, and I am excited about the opportunities that it offers. I look forward to working with the leaders and families of this city as we work to improve the lives of our youth,” said Hite.
While details surrounding the transition are still being determined, Search Team Chair and SRC Commissioner Dr. Wendell Pritchett reiterated the SRC’s commitment to an open and transparent process. “We will make Dr. Hite’s contract public as soon as it is finalized.”
The superintendent search process began in January of 2012, with the creation of the Superintendent Search Team that included members of the community-at-large. At the start of the search process, the SRC expressed their intent to conduct a process characterized and unprecedented by its openness and transparency. The selection of the new superintendent was guided by a set of criteria developed with significant input gathered from community forums. Following is a partial list of highlights of the search process.
· The SRC and the Superintendent Search Team, in response to community input, significantly revised the superintendent job description and added new members to the Superintendent Search Team. On March 12, the search team released the final job description.
· The following new members joined the search team: Rev. Albert Campbell, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Patricia DeCarlo, Norris Square Civic Association, and Len Rieser, Education Law Center.
· The search team received over 100 applications and nominations that started the review process.
· After several meetings, the search team narrowed down the candidates to a list of about 15 individuals. In May the search team interviewed 11 of the candidates. Five of the 11 candidates were originally from Philadelphia.
· The search team narrowed down its selection to four candidates and presented its recommendations to the SRC.
· The SRC interviewed the recommended candidates and conducted further review. On June 22, the SRC selected two finalists.
· On June 25 and 26, the SRC convened students, teachers, principals, assistant principals, faith-based leaders, parent groups, charter school operators, elected officials and business leaders groups to meet with the two finalists.
· At the end of public sessions, attendees completed feedback forms that asked how the finalists met the criteria from the job description. The SRC reviewed the evaluation forms and took the public’s input into consideration.