Minneapolis Public Schools still in search of a superintendent

The Minneapolis School Board has decided it will not re-open the search for a new superintendent. Instead, some board members have indicated they will likely choose among the remaining candidates to avoid a lengthy and costly vetting process. 

This comes after original candidate Dr. Sergio Paez was removed from consideration during a board meeting on Tuesday night.

“We had not entered into a contract with Mr. Paez. And if we had the information that we had now a month ago we would not have chosen Dr. Paez for our first choice to be superintendent,” school board member Nelson Inz said.

According to school board member Don Samuels, Dr. Paez’s past became too much of a political liability.

“There was a question of whether or not he could weather that controversy,” Samuels said.

The controversy in question came to light this past December when an advocacy group released a report alleging mistreatment of special education students by staff at a Massachusetts school under Dr. Paez's watch. A criminal investigation was launched with Paez denying any wrong doing on his part.

Samuels says their search firm missed this important piece of background information -- "We do the best we can and things like this happen."

After board members unanimously voted not to resume contract negotiations with Dr. Paez at Tuesday’s meeting, they rejected the idea of starting a new candidate search. Instead, they turned to the next person on their list, interim superintendent Michael Goar.

Protestors weren't too fond of that idea and disrupted the meeting forcing the board to table the vote.

Samuels said the next superintendent must share the priorities of the district at large -- “It's going to be someone who's going to attack the achievement gap, and someone who's going to be able to bring the adults in the district together."

Some residents have said they want to make sure the next superintendent is a local. School board chair Jenny Arneson says they need to discuss the next steps in the coming days before commenting on any specific action. The next board meeting is set for Jan. 26.