Saturday, June 20, 2009

Amalia Cudeiro is starting out in Bellevue exactly like Libia Gil started in CVESD

See more on Amalia Cudeiro.

UPDATE MARCH 8, 2011 Steve McConnell said...I do wonder whether we in Bellevue are getting what we thought we were with Dr. Cudeiro. Check out my blog on the topic...

UPDATE: AUGUST 9, 2009 ANONYMOUS COMMENTER REPORTS: "I hear from reliable sources that she's cleaning house at the dictrict, firing old reliables and hiring outside people at MUCH higher salaries. Haven't seen any news reports about this yet but I'm wondering how local parents and educators will react to this kind of drastic change." MAURA LARKINS' COMMENT: Wouldn't it be hilarious if Curdeiro hired Libby Gil's right-hand man Richard Werlin?


Back in 1993 Amalia Cudeiro's friend Libia Gil was hired as superintendent in Chula Vista Elementary School District. Gil said she was just going to listen to other people for the first few months. She went around listening to business people and politicos, everybody except the teachers. And when did she begin to speak? Never, as far as I can recall. The ability to sit quietly and say nothing seemed to be her strongest trait. But she ruled with the help of a few close associates, particularly Richard Werlin, assistant superintendent for human resources.

Gil instituted site-based management, which meant that as long as they kept things quiet, principals were on their own. If a problem developed, Richard Werlin swooped in and started yelling and putting people on administrative leave.

There were few tears when Libia Gil left mysteriously in 2002, supposedly for a job in Virginia. But she never left San Diego, and she never has been hired as a public school superintendent since then, though not for lack of trying.

Amalia Cudeiro and Libia Gil are old friends and business partners. I imagine that the Bellevue School Board has a majority of rigid, right-wing members who wanted someone just like Libby Gil. They picked the right person if that's their purpose.

She's going to listen: where have we heard this before?

New Bellevue schools superintendent says her first assignment is to listen
Seattle Times
March 30, 2009
By Katherine Long

Amalia Cudeiro, a 52-year-old education consultant, will officially become Bellevue's new superintendent in July, although it's likely she'll work informally with the district in the months leading up to that date.

She's a good listener and a no-nonsense administrator who makes her decisions after poring over assessment data.

[Maura Larkins' note: Actually, I think she makes her decisions BEFORE poring over assessment data, as seemed to be the case when she did "research" on Tom Payzant and Libia Gil.]

She holds a doctorate from Harvard University and lectures at the school's Urban Superintendents Program, but as a parent she's known firsthand the frustration of trying to find a school that works for a daughter with a learning disability.

Amalia Cudeiro, a 52-year-old education consultant, will officially become Bellevue's new superintendent in July, although it's likely she'll work informally with the district in the months leading up to that date.

She swings through Bellevue today, her first visit since being offered the job, with a packed itinerary that includes meeting with district officials, signing her contract and talking to the media.

Cudeiro will take leadership of a district considered one of the best in the state, with schools with a national reputation for excellence.

But the School Board wants to make more headway at helping lower-income students perform better. About 18 percent of Bellevue's students are on free- or reduced-price lunch, and more than 80 languages are spoken by students in the district's increasingly diverse schools.

Cudeiro says her first job will be to listen to what others have to say, especially teachers who went on strike six months ago over the district's standardized curriculum. "I am going to have to spend a little time understanding what has been put in place," she said.

Cudeiro's most recent public-schools job was as deputy superintendent of Boston Public Schools from September 1999 to June 2001. After that, with her husband, Jeffrey Nelsen, she founded a consulting firm, Targeted Leadership Consulting. She became an adjunct lecturer at Harvard University's Urban Superintendents Program in June 2004.

As a consultant, she's worked in school districts across the country, helping principals and teachers become better leaders and work together more effectively. The company also diagnoses a district's weak areas by examining data that show how students are doing, then building a curriculum based on that work.

"She has had the unusual experience of having been in literally dozens of school districts," said Tom Payzant, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "She has a frame of reference that's much broader than you'll see in a lot of candidates."

As a consultant, she's done work in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Chicago; Chula Vista, Calif.; Elizabeth, N.J.; and internationally with Department of Defense schools.

Payzant was superintendent of Boston Public Schools when Cudeiro worked as deputy superintendent. He described her as a good listener but someone who didn't hesitate to make tough decisions, such as not renewing the contract of a principal who wasn't doing a good job.

One of her high-profile assignments was to overhaul Boston High, a school with some of the lowest test scores in the district.

Lowell Billings, the superintendent of Chula Vista Elementary School District in California, worked with Cudeiro's consulting firm on education reform in the diverse district south of San Diego. "Our achievement trends have been rather impressive, and Amalia played an important part in that," Billings said.

He said Cudeiro's work, which focused on developing better leadership skills among principals, helped raise test scores in low-income schools. But it also helped schools in well-to-do neighborhoods, where there was a core of students whose failure rate was masked by the overall success of the system.

As a mother, Cudeiro has also known what it's like to battle the system. She spent years trying to find a Boston public-school program that would help her dyslexic daughter catch up to peers.

She said she eventually "had to make a real tough decision" to pull her daughter from public school and put her in private school.

Cudeiro's daughter is now in college and doing well, she said.

1 comment:

Steve McConnell said...

Interesting comments. I do wonder whether we in Bellevue are getting what we thought we were with Dr. Cudeiro. Check out my blog on the topic: