Our Shortlist of Superintendents for Capistrano Unified

Categories: School Daze
Illustration by Evan Yarborough
Former CUSD Supt. Woodrow Carter, presumably resting in retirement.
The beleaguered Capistrano Unified School District has been through about, oh, 732 different superintendents in the past, say, four years. Following the firing of facial-loving supe Woodrow Carter last year and the end of the contract for interim leader Bobbi Mahler, the district's school board is expected to announce their pick for the top spot at tonight's meeting. 

It looks like the choice this time around is Anaheim Unified's Joseph Farley, who the board hopes will stick around for a while--even with the district's penchant for strikes, recalls, budget problems, lawsuits, enemies lists, rambunctious meetings, de-facto segregation and conspiracy theories.

We already know the job isn't easy. We already know that even people who seem eminently qualified--like Carter, who had a long career in educational administration and the military--often don't make it.

So what kind of leader does CUSD need? Yesterday--before news of Farley's candidacy broke--we drew up short-list of candidates...

1. Nancy Pelosi

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She managed to get that crazy, world-destroying/saving health-care bill passed in the House of Representatives twice, even while dealing with chickenshit Democrats and apoplectic Republicans. After living through that, getting a new contract with the teachers' union should be a cinch. Alternate: Rahm Emanuel.

2. Darth Vader
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In a school district that seems allergic to compromise, maybe you need someone who doesn't ever need to compromise. Vader can control minds--useful when you've got a constituency of two minds on, say, parent-volunteer policy--and if that's too much effort, he can... dispose... of troublemakers. Watch your throat, Anna Bryson. Alternate: Mike Schroeder.

3. Mahatma Gandhi
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Peace-loving but determined, Gandhi would stick out the screamed allegations of corruption from parents at each meeting while subtly convincing everyone to chill out and let him mess with the bell schedule. Alternate: Jesus Christ.

4. Ronald Reagan
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CUSD is often seen as a testing ground for conservative educational ideology, with the anti-union Education Alliance and Howard Ahmanson Jr. bankrolling the latest slate of trustees. But the problem here may be the adherence to that ideology. You're not going to avoid recalls by actually slashing the budget when it needs slashing. So perhaps the Teflon President could talk the talk and convince South County tea partiers that he's ruling plenty Republican, while also working to raise local taxes and shore up the district's budget. Sometimes hypocrisy is the best policy. Alternate: Barack Obama... we *hope*.

5. Santa Claus
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Screw it, hire St. Nick to just give everyone what they want. No one would ever argue that Santa doesn't put the kids first. Alternate: Ex-Superintendent James Fleming in a red suit. He's already got the beard and the list-making down pat.

These choices seem far-fetched? Well, so does the prospect of Capistrano Unified ever having competent, stable leadership. Glad I got out of there when I did!



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