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Rochester school board member Mary Adams objected to the search process for a new superintendent, but will vote for Bolgen Vargas. She explained her reluctant support for him in an insightful email:

For the record, the reason I decided to support entering into superintendent contract negotiations with Dr. Vargas is that I believe extending the search process will not result in a better candidate, and there is a real possibility of ending up with a much worse candidate. With due respect to board colleagues, the reality is there is nothing I can think of that would influence the current board to implement a new community search process that would improve the outcome.

Criticism of and anger about the search process are legitimate. Critiques of Bolgen Vargas’s performance based on facts and evidence are justified and necessary.

Further, the sense of well-being and emotional security attached to Dr. Vargas, especially among staff working within the district and among political and institutional leaders is troubling. It bothers me because while the affective tone of the district has improved the essence of Jean-Claude Brizard’s policies and plans, with some exceptions, are being played out.

A word to supporters of Dr. Vargas:

If you find Dr. Vargas a welcomed contrast to Mr. Brizard, is it simply about your feelings? Please take the time to really assess current district efforts, priorities and intransigences. If we come up short, then you are obligated to challenge Dr. Vargas in the interest of our children and families. The most irresponsible thing we can do is give our leader a pass because he makes people feel calm and content.

I have been challenging Dr. Vargas and guess what? Even under challenge, he does not make you feel bad, though it has been a bit exhausting. Imagine if we all seriously challenged him — and supported when warranted — based on our collective commitment to Rochester’s children and families. This means finding time, working harder, taking risks and organizing from the base, whether teacher, parent, principal, retiree, student or elected official.

A word to opponents of Dr. Vargas:

There is no realistic mechanism to stop or reverse this decision that I can think of. The question now, with the well-being of our children and families the goal, is what’s next? Next to giving Dr. Vargas a pass because he is nice, the worst thing we can do is abandon the openings for improvement that exist by refusing to engage where possible for real change. However you decide to proceed – I hope with a set of focused, well thought out approaches — I will respect you.

Mary Adams

One Response to Is Warm and Fuzzy Bad?

  1. April 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm Lynn E responds:

    If school is about human development and potential, then warm and fuzzy is not only important, it is essential.

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