Key school positions may be going to ex-CEOs, Steirheim says
By Jaime Levy
Business leaders will be brought in to run key aspects of Miami-Dade's public schools, Superintendent Merrett Stierheim says.
As he loosely outlined plans to overhaul the school system at a meeting of the Latin Builders Association, he reiterated that on his watch the system would be run as a business, with former CEOs likely to take over certain administrative positions.
"As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Stierheim told Friday's luncheon at the JW Marriott, "it's a business. It's not a lot different from the companies you run in your daily activities."
He said transportation, maintenance, food service and distribution, and construction are areas that could be organized differently.
"Many of those functions should be operated by men and women who have run companies, who understand the bottom line, who understand how to manage resources and people to get the job done," Mr. Stierheim said. "Principals are not necessarily trained to do that. I'm going to try to bring in very successful businessmen and women to operate the system, to do it better, efficiently and effectively."
Mr. Stierheim had announced earlier this month that he would cut in half the number of school board positions reporting directly to him. At Friday's meeting, he said he expected the reorganization to be "complicated."
In his talk, Mr. Stierheim said a survey he ordered of 323 of the 340 public school principals disclosed that a majority found the system and its administrators corrupt, overly political and often incompetent.
"The system historically has operated on paranoia. Much to the frustration of many, the principals pointed out a situation that is not healthy," he said. "They cried out for change. Not a change to the budget or the organization, but a change to a culture that has grown and needs to be put on track. It's going to take time to build the organization, to trust - to empower people to take risks, to innovate, to be leaders."