"Gather 'round me everybody " and listen to this.
Our very own Muscogee County School District Board of Education is "soliciting input in the superintendent selection process" from "stakeholders."
What the heck's a stakeholder? You are, if you're a student, parent, school staffer, teacher, administrator or community member, which is just about everybody.
So you'll want to go to the district's website at www.muscogee.k12.ga.us and give your feedback by clicking on the "superintendent search" label at the bottom of the page and then answering the questions that pop up.
So what does this have to do with a Johnny Mercer song?
Well, it appears the board is trying to find a new superintendent by accentuating the positive. It starts the survey by asking us stakeholders to (1) "Tell us the good things about your community" and (2) "Tell us the good things about your schools."
In parentheses, we're told this information will be used to "help us recruit quality candidates."
So we're going to build a big pool of candidates by telling them about our great public-private partnerships, tradition of servant leadership, history of successful special local option sales tax votes, and really big ideas like the scrambled dog.
Oh yeah, and we're building the largest urban whitewater course on the planet.
All this is true, of course, and worth mentioning. It's also a way, to quote Mr. Mercer, to "spread joy up to the maximum" and "bring gloom down to the minimum."
So when do we get to the gloom? That's in the next question: "What issues should the superintendent be aware of as he/she comes into the district?"
In parentheses, we're told this information will be "shared with the final candidates."
So after we establish that this is a great place to live and work, the board's going to pull aside the top candidates and share the issues, which I'm assuming will include the fact that Muscogee County is below the state average on every category on every grade level of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, that we continue to show lack of improvement in math, and that there's a huge performance gap between the Title I schools south of Macon Road and the non-Title I schools north of Macon Road.
Which will be the perfect time for the top candidate to ask about the compensation package and start calculating how many years of this -- two, or three? -- he or she can tolerate until retirement.
That's the wrong approach.
Sorry, Johnny, but we've got to accentuate the negative.
Let's tell candidates how screwed up we are and what an incredible uphill challenge they'll have. Before we take them to lunch at the country club, let's see how comfortable they are handling urban problems.
Because that's what they need to be doing. Let's build a candidate pool of leaders who want to make a difference in our community by doing something really, really hard and growing a lasting legacy.
That's going to take more than two or three years. Let's show people what this job really entails and how long it's going to take.
Otherwise, it's just going to chew them up and spit them out, which means they'll have a bigger retirement account and we'll have nothing to show for it.
Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org