Ex-general will lead Wake Schools
In the war of words about where to take Wake County schools, conservatives on the school board have brought in a general.
The board hired retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata as the school system’s new superintendent at its meeting Thursday. Tata, the chief operating officer for Washington, D.C. schools for the past 18 months, has modest credentials as an educator, but a strong background in the military and a clear conservative bent.
Tata’s Facebook pages list among his “likes” conservative commentators Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter. He’s also is a fan of Sarah Palin and the tea party.
Tata, a West Point graduate and Virginia native, has had a second career as the author of a series of military-themed thrillers that might be considered too racy for a public school library.
Tata was the selection of a search committee headed by board member Debra Goldman. It is unclear what effect Tata will have on the board’s ongoing debate about how to move to a neighborhood schools model after discarding a school assignment policy that promoted socioeconomic diversity.
Tata was approved by a vote of 4-2 with two board members absent due to short notice of the meeting announced only on Tuesday. He will receive a salary of $250,000 and is contract runs through June 2014, The News & Observer reported.
The superintendent’s vacancy occurred after Del Burns resigned in protest over the board’s move to discard the diversity policy.
While Tata, 51, appeals to conservatives, he was not well received by activists who oppose the move away from diversity-based school assignments to a neighborhood school model.
Yevonne Brannon, an advocate for school diversity and head of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, said of Tata, “He seems to be a very experienced and qualified solider. I think he has a skimpy resume when it comes to how to teach children.”
Prior to his position with District of Columbia schools, Tata served as the deputy director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Organization for the United States Military. In this role, he oversaw a $4.5 billion budget and was responsible for coordinating operations, training to counter improvised explosive device threats faced in combat.
From the outside, this looks like sleazy and ridiculous politics to me. Were proper board procedures followed? I.e., was proper notice given to all board members of the meeting to vote for their new boss? This is a major blow to Wake County’s image and its ability to lead. The state went Blue last election; the county led the way. With shenanigans like this, bringing in a right wing conservative militant into what was allegedly at least somewhat of a progressive school system, we are moving backwards.
[...] on the Wake County School Board hired retired Army Brigadier Gen. Anthony Tata to be the district’s superintendent, in part for his [...]
You call him a militant as if he is a revolutionary or terrorist. He has served his country for decades in a distinguished manner.
Here are his words describing some educational experiences he has had.
“During my military career I earned a Master of Arts from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Military Arts and Science from The School of Advanced Military Studies. I also attended Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as a National Security Fellow where I studied in the Government, Business and Law Schools.”
Shoul all concervatives be excluded from consideration for places in education? A general officer in the US Army is well prepared to run a school system. Don’t think he will lead the school as if it were a military unit. He is a thinking man and will lead the organization toward signficant improvement in a professional manner. Assuming otherwise demonstrates a lack of understanding of his background and experience as well as a political bias that is intolerant.