With Dr. José Colón-Rivas moving to become chief operating officer of the Hartford Public Schools and Dr. Beth Taylor changing residency, the Hartford Board of Education is again two members short of a full deck. A previous vacancy, filled by Parent Julio Flores, an impressive leader on two schools’ School Governance Councils, does not diminish the need for a full Board complement on ready alert.
In our recent open letter to Hartford education leaders, we spoke directly to the need for stability, as superintendent and board member turnover does have an impact on the dysfunctionality of districts.
The transition by Dr. Taylor, always a thoughtful and probing questioner and data-oriented leader, is a significant loss to the Board, as was that of Dr. Colon-Rivas, although he remains a leader in the game.
The Bottom Line. We need more leaders. Hartford, and in particular Mayor Luke Bronin, need to bring this Board to its full, nine-member group – and to do so with a resident who, like Mr. Flores, has valuable expertise, an intense sense of urgency to ensure Hartford does right by every single student, family, and teacher, and also can have flexible time so as to attend meetings and do Board homework. On one hand, the Democratic Town Committee must make a selection to replace elected member, Dr. Beth Taylor. On the other hand, we advocate for the business community to help the Mayor identify a resident with an eye towards ensuring K-12 education and higher education lead to a robust student talent pipeline for city and regional employers.