Wendi C. Thomas: Patience of Job needed for job

On April 1, 2012, in News 2012, by Mark Norris

By Wendi C. Thomas, CommercialAppeal.com
April 1, 2012

Wanted: A superintendent for what could be one of the country’s largest school districts.

The unified Memphis City and Shelby County school system seeks an ambitious, charismatic miracle worker to do what has never been done in the history of urban education: Launch the performance of students from all backgrounds into the stratosphere.

The district will serve the 102,000 students currently in Memphis City School system and if the suburbs have their way, not a single one of the public school students in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown or Lakeland. The fate of students in Millington and unincorporated areas is uncertain.

The preferred candidate, Helen Keller’s teacher, is not available.

Jesus, Allah and other divine entities have failed to return calls, texts, tweets and messages sent by carrier pigeon and stagecoach.

This job has since been opened to the public.

The ideal candidate:

Must possess the genius of Steve Jobs and the patience of Job, the likeability of Rachael Ray and a smidge of Paula Deen’s “aw shucks” attitude.

Must personally ensure that no guns, drugs or gangs are found in any school ever, as this makes for negative headlines.

Must be able to shoulder the responsibility for all shortcomings but very little of the credit for any successes.

Must be able to regularly lift 14 tons of accumulated baggage, dating back to the beginning of time and including the period in which schools were desegregated and attempts at diversity via busing failed miserably.

Must balance needs of urban residents with desires of suburban parents.

Must be able to stand his or her ground for long periods of time and sit for even longer periods of time (interminable school board meetings).

Must be an accomplished mind reader as to divine the wishes of various constituencies, including but not limited to current students, past students, future students, parents, elected officials, teachers, administrators and a myriad of other groups with little skin in the game but lots to say.

Must be assertive but not bossy. Pleasant but not a brown-noser, with a personal background as squeaky clean as Mother Teresa.

Education: Ph.D. in education from a really good school — not too hoity toity, but not a middling one either. Prior experience as a classroom teacher desirable. Valid certificate in “Shaking Off The Haters” required.

The successful candidate will not be named John Aitken, the current superintendent of the Shelby County Schools, or Kriner Cash, the current superintendent of the Memphis City Schools.

Any applicants who either dragged their feet when disciplining a deputy superintendent who commented on a secretary’s breasts or fought against the unification of said district will not get an interview.

Salary: Commensurate with experience but will never be enough to compensate for a life fully surrendered for the duration of the employment with the unified district. Regardless of the amount, the salary will be criticized as too high.

Applications should include your curriculum vitae, links to every article written about you in the last five years and the candidate’s Facebook password.

For more information, Google “hot mess,” “unification,” “merge,” “hostile takeover,” “threw keys on the table,” “schools,” “Sen. Mark Norris,” “Martavius Jones” and “David Pickler.”

Do not bother searching for “best for all children,” or “valiant attempt to acknowledge the shared destiny for entire community.”

If this sounds like the job for you, contact the nearest mental health professional. Because you must be crazy.

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