Superintendent Candidate 1: Steven M. Cobb

So here goes a 4-part series looking at each of the candidates to the Superintendent of Unit 4. My goal is to invite discussion on these candidates, and I hope to do so by laying a groundwork of my own thoughts. Which are highly subjective. 🙂 But I hope they contain a measure of objectivity from time to time. But the point is you are free to disagree – I would love to hear your thoughts.

According to the standing Board Policies, the Superintendent is charged with:

  1. Directing the day-to-day operations of the District’s schools, services, and programs.
  2. Conducting research and recommending plans for the short- and long-range goals, services, and programs of the District.
  3. Evaluating the entire District’s operations, programs, services, and personnel on a regular, scheduled basis.

I am going to keep that as my lamppost, a guiding pillar which to form some idea of how the candidate measures up.

Steven M. Cobb

First off, this gentleman has not held the position of Superintendent. Looking at his resume, I do see that he has held the Assistant Superintendent title some time between 2008-2009 during a very short stint in Frankfort, IN, in which he claims he covered for an absent Superintendent. It is not clear to me how much time he actually spent doing Superintendent duties. This is a big red flag for me; we are looking for someone who can hit the ground running, who will need to evaluate the entire District and direct day-to-day operations, while at the same time deciding how to reorganize the Administration as key members of the current team are leaving. This is a tall order.

While the resume is distressingly thin on Superintendent duties per se, I do have to say he appears to be quite experienced, and presumably talented, in more specific aspects of school administration; namely curriculum development.

I respect that Steven has worked his way from being a teacher in 1976; that is impressive in itself, but also shows a dedication and passion for the education of children. Which is a good thing. A great thing, even. But we are looking to higher a spectacular Superintendent that is supposed to at least jump as high as Dr. Malito does, and I am not seeing it on paper.

What the internets say

He has recently tried to get the Superintendent position at Lee County:

One of the highest paid public school employees in Allen County (2009):

Profile at Fort Wayne School District:

Not finding much commentary; not sure if one has to register with NapleNews in order to see user-submitted comments, or if there simply are no comments.


Follow-up to the NG Q&A

I note that even though Steven is in Indiana, he has done his homework for Champaign, which is a good sign. He emphasizes the need to build bridges with the community and the critical nature of open, clear, frequent communication. Seems to have a bit of experience with construction projections; however his answers to the questions on diversity and NCLB seem a bit bland to me.


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