Tuesday September 20: Chancellor Selection Committee Meets–and More

Now, more than halfway through September, racing toward an October deadline for picking the next DCPS chancellor, the chancellor selection committee–the 17-member advisory body that is advising the mayor on the next DCPS chancellor–will have its next public meeting on Tuesday September 20. The meeting will take place at the Main Hall, Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave NE at 6 pm. More information is here.

The committee will also meet a week later, in the same place, although when is not exactly known: the notice above says Tuesday September 28 (so, it’s either next Tuesday or the 28th). [update 9/23/16: According to page 26 of a summary document for the Sept. 20 meeting, the next meeting of the chancellor selection committee is indeed on September 28, with the following meeting on October 12, both 6-8 pm at Trinity Washington University. Draft recommendations will be formulated at the first, and finalized at the second. In addition, a report on the upshot of the community engagement sessions will be finalized at the September 28 meeting, but you can review progress on that front here.]

Notice of the September 20th meeting of the committee was posted on its website on September 16, so it’s of a piece with all the rushing. This meeting of the committee is to review community feedback from three public forums on the chancellor selection (August 30, September 7, September 14) and to build recommendations for the mayor’s use.

But the committee has clearly met at least one other time. Indeed, a recently posted summary of its meeting on August 4 showed the committee asking Derek Wilkinson, representative of the search firm Boyden Global, basic questions, such as what education searches Boyden has done. (Answer: not many like this.)

One of the questions–“who is the team?”–got a cryptic response: the “team” (whatever it does) is Wilkinson, a “DC staff of 3-4 people, a colleague in the [Boyden] NY/Toronto office, and 1 additional person who is also a DCPS parent.”

(Well, at least the last can be narrowed down to approximately 40,000 people.)

The clear rush for selecting a new chancellor isn’t the only oddity about this process: a few days after that chancellor selection committee meeting, on August 8, schools activist Peter MacPherson submitted a FOIA request for all contracts and agreements between the deputy mayor for education and Boyden, including all correspondence (email, printed documents, etc.) about the Boyden contract for the chancellor search.

MacPherson got a response of sorts on September 13:

Boyden will get 30% of the total compensation for the new chancellor in his or her first year of employment. That would put its contract for this search at $100,000 at least. Nor can its contract exceed $250,000, per the task order that DC’s department of human resources signed with Boyden on July 12, when the search was announced, and sent as a response to MacPherson’s FOIA request.

But a contract?

Well, nothing, unless you count a request for proposals for a search firm for WMATA in 2015–and the agreement that WMATA signed with Boyden afterward. Both were sent in response to MacPherson’s FOIA request about Boyden and the chancellor search.

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