Board 27 members pick super

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School Board 27 has selected the district's acting superintendent and a former principal of the troubled district for the permanent superintendent position.

District 27, which serves Ozone Park, the Rockaways, and parts of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, is plagued by low test scores, teacher shortages and severe school crowding.

On Feb. 28, the school board voted 8-0 to recommend acting superintendent Matthew Bromme for the job to Interim Schools Chancellor Harold Levy, who will complete the last stage of screening in the coming months.

In doing so the school board met its deadline, imposed earlier by the Board of Education, to name a superintendent for recommendation to the schools chancellor by March 1.

Immediately after the vote, Bromme said he was grateful for the school board's support and expressed a commitment to raising test scores, attendance, and summer school involvement. Bromme has been the acting superintendent since September.

The school board's decision came after a three-month screening process by a committee culled from the district and community. The committee reviewed 35 resumes and selected 10 candidates to be interviewed.

Former superintendent Brenda Isaacs retired last June amid a sweeping personnel overhaul by then Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew aimed at improving the performance of floundering school districts citywide.

Harolyn Fritz, a member of the screening committee that chose Bromme and a District 27 union representative, credited the acting chief with swift action on the district's numerous problems without the security of knowing he would get the permanent position.

"He's done a good job, he's reached out to the community, he's trying to solve the problems," Fritz said.

"I think he's also taken on a lot of issues that other superintendents haven't even touched," she added.

Last year, 71.6 percent of fourth-grade students in District 27 scored lower than the new state standards for reading.

The district also has trouble retaining teachers, losing competent educators to higher paying jobs in the suburbs.

Fritz said on average 200 new teachers are hired each year in District 27, but the turnover rate is so high that one classroom had as many as six teachers pass through it in a single year.

And 22 of the district's 26 elementary schools were operating at or above full capacity last year.

Board of Ed spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said the interim chancellor would make a decision on the appointment in the next few months.

"Usually it doesn't take all that long to make a decision," she said. "The school board can select up to four candidates. If they only select one, then that is what the chancellor has to choose from."

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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