The Boston School Committee chose to enter contract negotiations with a new superintendent Tuesday night after an executive session meeting that revealed the choice of Dr. Tommy Chang in a 5-2 vote – a choice that gave Mayor Martin J. Walsh the candidate he was backing.
The year-long search and selection process came down to four candidates who were brought in last week for whirlwind tours of the City and the schools. However, in the end, it only came down to two candidates – Chang and Nevada Supt. in Residence Pedro Martinez.
The Committee voted 5-2 for Chang. Those voting for Chang were Chair Michael O’Neill, Meg Campbell, Hardin Coleman, Michael Loconto and Jeri Robinson.
Those voting for Martinez were Miran Uriate and Regina Robinson.
Just prior to the selection, Mayor Walsh had disclosed to several media organizations that he preferred the choice of Chang and was hoping they would choose him.
One impressive candidate from the Richmond (VA) Schools, Dr. Dana Bedden, suddenly withdrew his name from consideration only hours before Tuesday night’s meeting.
Another candidate, Guadalupe Guerrero – who had been a former Boston Public Schools (BPS) principal – had run into a problem with his resume, as reported by the Boston Globe last week. Apparently, there was a conflict with whether or not he was still in the Harvard doctoral program. While he contended that he had wrapped up coursework, but hadn’t finished his dissertation, Harvard told the Globe they had terminated him from the program last fall. That led to some serious questions about his candidacy and seemed to have an effect on his consideration.
That meant it only came down to Chang and Martinez.
Immediately after the vote, Mayor Walsh issued a statement praising the decision.
“Dr. Chang will provide the leadership that our school system needs and I am confident that his innovative views on education will move our students forward,” said Walsh in a statement. “We need a transformative leader and that is Tommy Chang. I thank the School Committee for their dedication to this process and commitment to the overall improvement of our system, and the Search Committee for providing several top candidates to lead our schools. Our city is full of talent and our young people deserve the best we can provide.”
Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teacher’s Union (BTU), said his membership is ready to work with Chang.
“We look forward to working with Dr. Chang and I expect to meet with him shortly,” said Stutman.
Chang was the Local Instructional Superintendent, Intensive Support & Innovation Center (ISIC) at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where he oversaw 135 schools and approximately 95,000 students. Chang previously served as special assistant to the superintendent of LAUSD. He is a former teacher and principal. He holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Loyola Marymount University, M.Ed. from the Principals Leadership Institute and Teachers Education Program at UCLA and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.