“Doctor” Carter, superstar.
In 2007 the Chicago Tribune wrote:
The Chicago Public Schools system has 126 openings for principals next fall, and has only 33 current principals ready to take the jobs. That’s a problem. It’s also a phenomenal opportunity.
Vacancies in about one-fifth of the schools give CPS Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan a chance to bring in a new generation of leaders to transform city schools. Some of those schools have flailed for years under mediocre bureaucrats. That could change.
Yes, there are enough teachers and administrators within the CPS ranks to fill the spots. But Duncan recognizes that they should not simply have to compete with each other; they should compete with candidates across the nation. “I want superstars,” he said. “There is wonderful talent here, but to think that the Chicago system has a monopoly on talent is simply not the case.”
So, bring on the superstars. No one is more critical to the sustained success of a school than the person in the principal’s office. Principals set the tone for a school. They must motivate staff and communicate a clear vision, create a culture of high standards for students and keep the school on solid financial footing.
Fortunately, CPS had years to anticipate this exodus, and Duncan planned intelligently. A new recruiter will look for top candidates in other states. Good candidates will be offered financial incentives to come to the most challenging schools, with the prospect of more rewards if they sustain student improvement. Top-notch principals who are retiring will mentor the newcomers. Taking a business-like approach to this makes enormous sense.
The Trib singles out one superstar Chicago principal: Dr. Terrence P. Carter.
“Used to be, as long as the lights were on and the heat was working and teachers reported to school, your job as principal was basically done,” said Terrence Carter, principal of Clara Barton Elementary School in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. “Now, in the age of more accountability, there’s a paradigm shift for what skills principals need to have.”
For Carter, who also attended that day, the training reviewed skills he already knew. Carter represents a new breed of principal, many of whom recently entered the profession from the business world through a selective principal training program called New Leaders for New Schools. In that program, prospective principals focus on becoming academic leaders and conducting rigorous evaluations of teachers, students and curricula.
That’s the challenge and the opportunity for Chicago: to draw dozens more leaders like Terrence Carter into the most challenging public schools and to help them thrive.
Carter is now the center of controversy in New London, Connecticut where his application for school superintendent is on hold while the board investigates his claims of a doctorate from among other universities, Stanford University in California.
Stanford denies he received a doctorate from them.
Prior to applying for the job in New London, Carter worked as a principal for CPS and as an executive director for the Academy for Urban School Leadership. AUSL is responsible for managing most of CPS turnaround schools.
CPS board president David Vitale and chief administrative officer Tim Cawley both come from the ranks of AUSL.
A resume that Carter used in 2005 when he was applying for the principal’s job at Clara Barton Elementary School in Chicago, obtained by The Courant, says he received a “Doctor of Philosophy,” in 1996 from Lexington University in London, England. The degree was awarded “Summa Cum Laude,” the resume says and his major concentration was in “human resources management.” His dissertation was entitled, “Economic Concepts in Organizational Management Strategy,” the resume says.
Carter got the job and worked as principal from 2005 until 2010. He didn’t need a doctorate to qualify for the position. Several teachers at the school said he insisted that staff call him “Doctor.” Although Barton won three state academic improvement awards during Carter’s tenure there, the students’ performance never improved enough to move the school out of the lowest tier, known as “academic probation.”
While the Tribune branded Carter a superstar back in 2007, they have not been too interested in reporting on “Dr.” Carter’s New London problems.
There has been no comment from Secretary Arne Duncan.