Some members of the public are worried that Sue Kelly and her band of merry men are about to anoint Jame McCall as the next TCAPS superintendent. Why they didn’t just do this and spare Ann Cardon the trouble is another question. But we’re here now. McCall is one of five finalists for the position.
Someone asked a great question – Why isn’t Jame McCall qualified to be the next superintendent?
Here are 12 reasons that Jame McCall isn’t qualified to be superintendent:
1. She is the least educated of the finalists
Jame McCall has a master’s degree and “some graduate work.” (See the qualifications chart below. She is Candidate B.) By comparison, most of the other finalists have Ph.D.’s. Wouldn’t it be very unusual for a district of TCAPS’ size to have a top leader without a doctorate? The Detroit Public Schools superintendent has one. So does the Flint superintendent. So does the Grand Rapids superintendent. TCAPS deserves the very best.
Why would they relax what is truly the minimum educational requirement for the top job in a district of their size, just so they could anoint an insider? Paul Soma didn’t have a Ph.D. either. Let’s learn from our mistakes.
2. No experience as a superintendent
Two of the finalists have experience as a superintendent. Jame McCall has never been a superintendent. Again, to offer the position to McCall seems like tweaking the actual requirements in order to match the desired person to the position rather than find the best candidate for the job.
(summary of superintendent qualifications)
3. Couldn’t keep Ann Cardon
Jame McCall was a major player in the disgraceful chain of events that caused the ouster of the previous superintendent, Ann Cardon, along with a big payout on the way out the door. One measure of effective leadership is the ability to not just attract, but retain, quality people. With Cardon’s departure only shortly after her arrival to TCAPS, McCall illustrated that her leadership abilities are lacking.
Sue Kelly and Jame McCall negotiated a new contract for McCall without Cardon’s knowledge. Kelly gave McCall the latitude to dictate her own terms without Cardon even knowing what was going on. In doing so, McCall showed insubordination and an inability to put the needs of the district above her own.
5. Loyalty to Grant Chandler despite his mysterious resignation from Calhoun ISD
Grant Chandler submitted his resignation from Calhoun ISD after an audit revealed that he was providing Blueprint installation services to non-qualifying schools. Despite this, McCall remained loyal to Chandler to the point that she conditioned her new contract on TCAPS continuing to pay Chandler personally when Calhoun ISD could have provided similar services for free. McCall has never explained why she believed it was in TCAPS best interest to pay Chandler personally for a service it could receive for free from another source. McCall’s actions call her integrity into question, at best. Without a satisfactory explanation, we cannot trust McCall to put the interest of TCAPS students and taxpayers ahead of her own.
In fact, the continued funding for Chandler and the surrounding controversy all occurred at or near the time of Cardon’s departure. We still do not have a clear answer on what, if anything, McCall’s desire for Chandler to continue working with TCAPS at the District’s expense had to do with the angst against Cardon. If McCall is not willing or able to answer that question to reasonable satisfaction, she should not be superintendent.
6. Lack of support for the Student Finance Research Collaborative
Sue Kelly and Paul Soma want us to believe that they’re novel in their opposition to the Student Finance Research Collaborative, when actually, the only thing novel these days is Coronavirus. As the only district publicly opposed to the SFRC recommendations, Kelly and Soma are leading TCAPS down a rabbit trail and ultimately hindering state progress in school funding equity – progress that would benefit TCAPS students. TCAPS students deserve a leader who is on board with the Student Finance Research Collaborative and who can join statewide leadership in progress towards the implementation of funding equity on a statewide level.
7. Loyalty to the Blueprint despite no evidence that it’s working
McCall has taken the reigns of the TCAPS Blueprint bandwagon, or should I say BRANDWAGON. Yet, for all that cheerleading, we have yet to see any evidence that it has worked or is working in the district. Is the Blueprint working in TCAPS? Show me the stats. If not, you’ve wasted a whole lot of people’s time implementing it, and you tried to waste District dollars, too with the Chandler contract. McCall has been a central player in the TCAPS central administration for a long time. Whether or not the Blueprint has worked up until this point is on her. She needs to defend her record.
8. Student count fraud
Let’s keep calling it fraud because that’s what it was. McCall was part of the administration that knowingly padded TCAPS’ student count numbers in order to inflate dollars flowing into TCAPS. Since the man responsible for bailing TCAPS out of trouble is now facing felony charges for his own malfeasance, similar schemes in the future on McCall’s part could not only cause financial ruin to the district, but also additional bad press. The students deserve someone who can not only demonstrate honesty and fair dealing, but who brings positive repute to the district.
9. FOIA failings
TCAPS is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit about FOIA. There have been criticisms of meeting procedures and the fact that the Ann Cardon brouhaha went down without public discussion. The board stands accused of FOIA violations, round-the-table board decisions in violation of the Open Meetings Act and throwing Ann Cardon out the door without a true public discussion. McCall has sat by and watched the entire thing go down. We need a leader who knows FOIA and the Open Meetings Act, because the TCAPS board obviously doesn’t.
10. Closed school buildings and programs
Under her watch, TCAPS closed the Interlochen School, sold the Old Mission school and lost a lot of those students, and started and closed an IB program that never had a chance to begin with. We need a leader who grows the district programs and opportunity and makes them more available to students throughout the district, not shrinks it. We also need a leader who does the work in advance to know whether a program is sustainable.
11. No Ann Cardon answers
There are still a whole lot of questions about what happened to Ann Cardon. Was it Sue Kelly, in the closed session with the complaint? Or was it Jame McCall, in the administration building, with the Grant Chandler contract? We have not gotten transparency from McCall, and we cannot trust that she would be transparent as the leader of TCAPS.
12. Public confidence
Jame McCall brings with her unnecessary controversy. TCAPS has the opportunity to choose a leader who will unite a divided district. There are millions of people in the State of Michigan, and 4 outstanding finalists. To choose McCall is to invite continued derision and hostility where it doesn’t need to be.
How about you? Do you think Jame McCall should be the next superintendent of TCAPS? Why or why not? Post your opinions below.
P.S. — Someone accused me of reporting false information for stating that Chris Parker resigned from TCAPS to accept a position with MI Excel. Here is the source from the Record Eagle, and the source from The Ticker saying that he did just that.