Boston’s Superintendent Says She Won’t Be Superintendent for Long

After upheaval, Laura Perille says her plan is to only serve in an "interim"role until a replacement is found.

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So that settles it.

Superintendent Laura Perille has put speculation about her future with Boston Public Schools to rest, writing in an op-ed in the Boston Globe that she will not seek the job full-time.

Calling her job “a position I never sought nor expected to hold,” she writes that she has goals she wants to achieve during her tenure as superintendent, including a new infrastructure plan, and wants to remove “perceptions of self-interest and unnecessary distractions” from that work.

From the time of my appointment it has been readily apparent that there are some difficult choices that will need to be made about the future of our schools. Fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to me will require a relentless focus that is free from both perceptions of self-interest and unnecessary distractions. For these reasons, I will not be submitting my name as a candidate in the superintendent search process. Making a meaningful contribution to BPS is well worth having the word “interim” on my nameplate. I join others in urging the Boston School Committee to conduct a full and thoughtful search process to find Boston’s next educational leader.

Perille, who formerly led the education nonprofit EdVestors, was tapped to serve as “interim” superintendent this summer, taking the reins after the resignation of former Superintendent Tommy Chang. She is taking over a school system that is in her words facing “nothing short of an equity emergency,” which means she may have to make “unpopular decisions.”

Parents and education activists have been raising Hell this year over the prospect of Perille, who lacks classroom or school leadership experience and only received a license to run a school system this month, staying in the role long-term. They had urged her to pledge not to keep the job, the better to recruit other qualified candidates who might not bother applying if they thought an interim superintendent already had the job locked down.

“Our goal and expectation is that a quality, diverse, and experienced pool of candidates apply,” a coalition of parents, teachers, and civil rights groups wrote in a September joint statement. “Without a definitive statement regarding the Interim Superintendent[‘s intent to step down], however, strong candidates may conclude that the search is not a serious one, and they will decline or be reluctant to apply.”

Now they’ve got one.