COMMENTARY: "Nice guy" SD of L superintendent interview raises concerns

Posted on July 29th, 2008 in News and Commentary

As reported in the July 29 Intelligencer Journal, comments by Pedro Rivera who assumed the position of Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster earlier this month evince both naivety and a misguided attempt to build good will.

For example Rivera states: “The school district also is blessed with an experienced, well-trained staff of administrators, teachers and support workers, Rivera said… The problem is not with teaching; the problem is with leadership”

A more experienced leader would have stated “The system has many extraordinary teachers” thus leaving latitude for making a number of changes if necessary and not dissipating his or her influence. How much can Rivera know about the competence of personnel in just four weeks on the job? Instead of squandering his authority, Rivera should be studying what top staff members should be retained and who should go.

Not once in the long interview is the deplorable state of the sports program at McCaskey mentioned. And yet a good physical education and competitive sports program can provide much of the solution to drop out rates, obesity, gangs, cultural friction, student and faculty morale, and respect for authority…and even scholastic performance! As NewsLanc has reported, the win / loss records of most of McCaskey teams are a disgrace, which is a direct reflection on the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Drue Miles and Athletic Director Allen Mccloud and the failure of coaches to conduct effective team practices and teach strategy. Teams don’t learn to win by simply scrimmaging!

In defense of Rivera, this mistake of trying to be a nice guy is almost always made by individuals moving from staff to CEO positions. They naively want to be perceived as a well meaning peer. And it takes months and perhaps a year before they are able to understand that they have the responsibility for sorting out the bad from the good, and making difficult but essential decisions that inevitably bring about pain and criticism.

Whether a president, a governor, a mayor or a school district head, the first few months are a “honeymoon” in which that person can push through the type of initiatives and changes that will later be blocked by politics. The school district cannot afford to wait months and perhaps a year for Rivera to grow into the job.

Rivera is only 35 years of age. Perhaps he should show up at a team practice and lead students around the track a couple of times. That would build morale and demonstrate his commitment to revitalizing the sports program. Is he up to it?


Leave a Reply


More News


"....I have never made it a consideration whether the subject was popular or unpopular, but whether it was right or wrong; for that which is right will become popular, and that which is wrong, though by mistake it may obtain the cry or fashion of the day, will soon lose the power of delusion, and sink into disesteem." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, on "Financing the War", March 5, 1782


Blog Archives

NewsLanc looks back at a decade of service

NewsLanc looks back at a decade of service

NewsLanc looks back at a decade of service

At 77, we cannot be confident that there will be ...

Convention Center Series

Convention Center Series Index

Convention Center Series Index

Chapter 1: Beginnings- Revised Chapter 2: Dream Team- Revised Chapter 3: Helping ...

Honoring those who challenged the Convention Center Project

Earlier this month, NewsLanc published “The $63.6 million convention center ...

Keisling on Pennsylvania Politics

Decline of the Philadelphia Inquirer Part 4: Burning a source

Coverage of Kathleen Kane case brings more hard questions for ...

KEISLING: The moral and ethical decline of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Part 3

Part 3: Frank Fina changes the conversation by Bill Keisling This is ...

Lancaster Acquisition of Harrisburg Incinerator

Prospects cloudy for Corbett’s Harrisburg bailout

Prospects cloudy for Corbett’s Harrisburg bailout

by Bill Keisling Corbett Administration officials publicly say the Act 47 ...

Coalition forming to challenge Corbett administration’s Harrisburg bailout plans involving LCSWMA incinerator purchase

by Bill Keisling Citizens dissatisfied with the Corbett administration's plan to ...

Tsukerman on Russia

The Russian Laundromat

By Slava Tsukerman The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) ...

The Militarization of Russia

By Slava Tsukerman On February 23, Russia celebrated “Defender Of The ...


Meaning of My Morning Prayer

“Blessed is the Eternal our God who has awoken me ...

“Woe is me. Woe is me. Oh woe is me!”

By Robert Field It is amusing to read and ...

Santa Monica Reporter

Post Mortem on Winter; Fifty Shades of Whips, Tyrants, and a Bond parody

By Dan Cohen, Santa Monica Reporter Last spring we suffered through ...

Notes on Oscar: A Few Last Minute Observations

By Dan Cohen, NewsLanc's Santa Monica Reporter 2014 was a lousy ...

LGH Series

What Lancastrians should know about LGH / Penn merger. What LGH can learn from Geisinger.

The following is excerpted from "America's Bitter Pill" by Steven ...

Belated kudos to LNP for its editorial on LGH

Well, it was long overdue, but we are grateful that ...