HQ: The building where the Orleans Parish School Board meets in Louisiana, and where interviews took place for a job for which our Education Commissioner was short-listed. *Photo supplied
HQ: The building where the Orleans Parish School Board meets in Louisiana, and where interviews took place for a job for which our Education Commissioner was short-listed. *Photo supplied
<
1
2
>

 

Bermuda's Education Commissioner was  interviewed yesterday with the Orleans Parish School Board.

They are looking for a new district superintendent and Dr Edmond Heatley was on their shortlist.

According to the board’s agenda, he was scheduled to be the second of two candidates interviewed yesterday. The meeting was slated to start at 4pm — 6pm Bermuda time. The board had met on Wednesday as well to discuss two other finalists in closed session.

The OPSB was supposed to make a decision last night, but decided to delay any decision due to the six hours they spent interviewing the two out of town candidates,Dr Heatley and charter school administrator Thomas Darden of Philadelphia. 

No one in authority in Bermuda was willing to confirm that Dr Heatley had an interview — though Education Minister Dr Grant Gibbons did say Dr Heatley was “on leave”.


Mere days after saying he was committed to the students of Bermuda, the country’s education commissioner has apparently gone on personal leave and was  interviewed for a superintendent post in New Orleans.

According to Bill Attea, who is a representative of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, which is a Chicago-based firm that helps school boards recruit education executives, the Orleans Parish School Board was scheduled to interview Dr Heatley for the district’s superintendent job yesterday.

Dr Heatley, who assumed his post as Bermuda education commissioner last August, is among four finalists for the job.

According to that board’s agenda, he was scheduled to be the second of two candidates interviewed yesterday. The meeting was slated to start at 4 pm — 6pm Bermuda time. The board had met on Wednesday as well to discuss two other finalists in closed session.

Reached last night, Education Minister Dr Grant Gibbons said he could not speak to the whereabouts of Dr. Heatley: “I’m not sure where he is right now. I know he’s on leave,” Dr. Gibbons said.

He did not expound.

After it was revealed by the Bermuda Sun a week ago Dr. Heatley was among the finalists for the New Orleans position, the education commissioner released a statement saying he was committed to Bermuda’s students and he had applied for the post in December, when there was a government restructuring and a reshuffle of personnel that unsettled him. He said the Orleans job did not represent “a proactive search by me”.

“Back in December, when I allowed my resume to be put forward, there were a number of major, and from my perspective, unsettling changes within the Ministry,” he said through a statement.

“The (Education Permanent Secretary) had resigned, the Education Ministry had been merged with another ministry and the minister had been replaced. However, since then, I am pleased to report that I have built a very positive working relationship with the current (Education Permanent Secretary) and minister.” Dr Heatley’s explanation of his candidacy for the New Orleans job was met with mixed reactions in Bermuda.

The Bermuda Union of Teachers considered it to be a “a reaffirmation of his commitment to the public school system”. The union added it was prepared to hold Dr. Heatley accountable “to the initial commitment he has made to the people of Bermuda, which boils down to executing excellence in educational outcomes for our students and parents”.

PLP MP and Shadow Education Minister Walton Brown, meanwhile, was hoping for something more in Dr Heatley’s statement.

Dr Heatley has not, however, said he would decline the New Orleans job if it was offered. Neither did he speak to whether he planned to stay for the duration of his contract, which expires in September 2016.

Mr Brown, who has hailed the commissioner’s vision, work ethic and plan of action, said he had hoped that such guarantees would be part of Dr. Heatley’s reaction to the news of his candidacy.

“If he had committed to Bermuda for the duration of his contract, you would have greater confidence,” he said.

Now, said Mr. Brown, parents are “likely to be concerned whether there’s a full focus”.

Nalton Brangman, who was Education Minister when Dr Heatley was hired, told us last night: “To my knowledge he is heading to his aunt’s house first as the family prepares for her funeral. The timing of his appointment I do not have.

It is true the situation is far from finished but as I said in the ]radio] interview, let us pause to let him deal with that which he has created.” 


Commentary:


Our petulance discouraged Dr Heatley

Hit the road, Heatley, and don’t come back

Letter: Heatley case another blow for accountability