Tag Archives: “top-down” reform

John Barry's Aurora Success Makes Case for Non-Traditional Leadership

It’s hard to argue against the idea that more fresh blood is needed in our public education system. We could do with more school and district leaders who didn’t necessarily rise through the ranks of the teachers union or education bureaucracy who can bring valuable outside skills and perspectives to the challenges faced. Education News Colorado today highlights such a success story in the Denver metropolitan area: Aurora Public Schools raised more than a few eyebrows two years ago when the board of education selected John Barry, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, to take over as superintendent of the state’s third-largest school district. “We were definitely taking a chance,” says Aurora school board chairman Matt Clark. “He was clearly a non-traditional candidate, coming from the military. But we were looking for someone who understood what it took to turn an institution around.” And turn it did. Barry began introducing changes in the way Aurora educates its 32,000 students at a breakneck pace. New curricula. New strategic plan . New coaching method for teachers. New standardized tests . New summer school programs . The launch of a new pilot school — the first of several. New emphasis on truancy […]