State could allow superintendents without teaching experience - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State could allow superintendents without teaching experience

Lubbock Independent School District Superintendent Berhl Robertson Lubbock Independent School District Superintendent Berhl Robertson

It's a decision many educators say will impact the future of students across the state.

The State Board For Educator Certification made a preliminary decision on August 7 to remove teaching experience from superintendent requirements.

This has shocked many Texas educators, including some in Lubbock.

With a background of three years teaching Ag and special education classes, Lubbock Independent School District Superintendent Berhl Robertson knows how a classroom operates.

"It's difficult to run what we do as a business, because we're not a for-profit company," Robertson said. "What we're doing is producing the future of our country in our kids. Kids are not a business. Kids are kids - it's important that we understand that."

This is why the SBEC's preliminary decision concerns him.

"Every day is different because you have different kids and the dynamic in the classroom changes," Robertson said. "It's just critically important that we have an understanding of that, and have experience doing that."

Kate Kuhlmann is a lobbyist with the Association of Texas Professional Educators. She tells us a recent report found that over 90 percent of superintendents surveyed said they feel like they needed even more than two years of teaching experience.

"Superintendents make decisions on a daily basis that directly affect the classroom and the students in that classroom," she said. "So anywhere from curriculum and instruction to student discipline, testing schedules, all the way down to ensuring that the cafeteria program is running properly and bellies are properly fed."

Both Robertson and Kuhlmann agree that managerial experience cannot replace an educator's heart

"It does give it a very corporate route," Kuhlmann said. "If you're more about numbers and things like that than you are about what students really need in the classroom and don't really have a perspective on what they need in the classroom in the first place."

As long as Robertson stays superintendent at LISD, he says he will reference those three years of teaching frequently as LISD prepares students for graduation and beyond.

"When you love kids, then you understand the education process and I think it makes you a much better administrator," Robertson said, "and I just think there's some difficulties associated with those non-educators wanting to be superintendents."

LISD will request that the SBEC votes against their decision in October.

"Community members obviously want the strongest public school system we can build, and should be concerned for that reason," Kuhlmann said, "to make sure we're producing great students."

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