New Board of Ed President's Experience Questioned
Some board criticize appointment of Thomas Kinst at Monday's reorganization meeting.
As a new era began Monday night with the nomination of new leadership on the Board of Education, some questioned the selection of its new president.
Since former Board President Steve Paget and Vice President Marc Rosenberg did not seek another term in last week's election, the board appointed Thomas Kinst and Judith Haas as president and vice president, respectively.
However, some questioned if Kinst had enough experience and commitment to lead the board. Board members Thuy Anh Le and Christopher Pulsifer abstained from voting for that reason.
“It takes a strong commitment from the board and admininistration for that (a high level of) resolve toward student achievement,” Le said. “As economic, social and political forces bear down upon our school system, we need to make sure that our children’s education is not compromised.”
“I’m not so naïve to think that politics has no influence on selecting the president of the board,” continued Le, “but I do find it hard to accept that it is not the most experienced and hard-working members that should be president.”
Pulsifer echoed similar sentiments.
“My dedication is now, as it always has been, to this district and to communication and our students,” Pulsifer noted, “but I will abstain (from voting), as well.”
Kinst said he has been praised by other board members and it's going to take a team effort from all nine members.
“We do have common ground in a demonstrated commitment to educational excellence,” Kinst said. “Other board members have spoken to me, a number of whom have different opinions, but they’ve praised me for ability to listen, drive for what’s important, listen to things in objective manner and keep interests common ground.”
“The president has its role, but I am one of nine members of the school board, and it is a team of which I’m going to be relying upon,” Kinst continued.
Kinst also had praise for Haas, whom he nominated for the position of vice president, for her imparted knowledge and contributions to the board.
“I have worked with Judy over the past two years and found that we share quite a few common values. A lot of times, we found we voted one way in difference to the rest of the board,” Kinst said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge, and I welcome the contributions that she’ll bring as vice president.”
Deena Centofanti was sworn in for her first term, while incumbent Dana Boguszewski was sworn in for her first full term after each were victorious in last week's elections. Fellow newly-elected board member Lorraine Soisson was absent from the meeting and has not yet been sworn in.
“We’re very excited to move into the new school year with our new board,” Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said. “Everybody is really working very well together; there is a sense of real investment in the strategic plan, and there’s a feeling that our community is supporting the types of things that we’re doing. We’re optimistic for the future."