Dr. Edmond Heatley
Dr. Edmond Heatley. *File photo

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, UPDATE: Bermuda’s education commissioner has withdrawn his name from consideration for an education post in New Orleans, but calls for his resignation on the island remain.

The Times-Picayune reports he has dropped out of a field of candidates for the post of Orleans Parish schools superintendent. He was among the handful of finalists for the job; it was not immediately clear what caused him to pull out of consideration.

Here in Bermuda, Dr Heatley has drawn criticism for applying for the job. Some have questioned his commitment to the task at hand. The former US Marine assumed his current role last September. 

Dr Heatley interviewed for the New Orleans job last month; at the time, he was among four finalists being considered.

Independent MP Terry Lister has been among those to criticize Dr Heatley, suggesting at one point that government officials should “get rid of him”. Reached yesterday, Mr. Lister said there were still many unanswered questions: “I believe the public deserves to know what has led to the decision to withdraw from the shortlist for this job,” Mr Lister said. “If the minister chose to persuade the commissioner to stay on,  we should [be] told whether this convincing included any changes to his terms of employment.”

Dr Heatley had signed a three year contract that expires in 2016. Mr. Lister added: “We should also see the survey which Dr Heatley reported on in his interview package when he said that he has improved the public approval rating from 23 per cent to 93 per cent... This continues to be a serious matter and credibility remains an issue.”
PLP MP Walton Brown said yesterday: “I have called on Dr Heatley to resign based on the reasons already identified and I am prepared to wait for him to return to the island and see what steps he takes. What has transpired recently in New Orleans is immaterial in this respect.”

Bill Attea, a member of the educational consultancy firm that recruited Dr Heatley for the New Orleans job called him “a formidable candidate”. Mr. Attea, however, declined to say whether he was the frontrunner for the job: “The Board is not planning to make a decision on any of the candidates it has interviewed until it has had an opportunity to interview all of the candidates it desires to interview,” he said through a statement. “Since this is a confidential personnel matter and the search/interviews are in process, no further comments are appropriate at this time.”

Prudent

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Dr Grant Gibbons said through a statement released yesterday: “The Permanent Secretary has met with the Commissioner of Education. The Board of Education will also meet with the Commissioner today. The matter is under active consideration. It is prudent to carefully assess the next steps for the benefit of the education system as a whole.”

Attempts to reach Dr. Heatley were unsuccessful.

After it was revealed by the Bermuda Sun that Dr Heatley was among the finalists for the New Orleans position, the education commissioner stated 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”. He had indicated that a recruiter had contacted him about the position and he had allowed his resume to be put forward for consideration. 



APRIL 1, 4PM UPDATE: A Ministry of Education spokesperson said, “The Permanent Secretary has met with the Commissioner of Education. The Board of Education will also meet with Commissioner today. The matter is under active consideration. It is prudent to carefully assess the next steps for the benefit of the education system as a whole.”




Bermuda Education Commissioner Dr. Edmond Heatley has dropped out of consideration for a New Orleans-based education post, according to The Times-Picayune.

That paper reports he has withdrawn his name for the position of Orleans Parish schools superintendent. He was among the handful of finalists for the job; it was not immediately clear what caused him to pull out of consideration.

Here in Bermuda, Dr. Heatley has drawn criticism for applying for the job as some on the island have questioned his commitment to the task at hand. The former U.S. Marine assumed his current role last September. 

He interviewed for the New Orleans job last month. Dr. Heatley could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.