Three finalists have been named in the search for a new Boston school superintendent, but it’s hard not to wonder whether home field advantage will be what matters in the end.
Look no further than the front page of today’s Boston Herald, where Boston Latin graduate and local school leader Oscar Santos gazes earnestly at readers next to a headline reading, “Our Saving Grace.” Flip inside and there’s a piece making the case for Santos — authored by Santos — under the headline in the print edition, “Boston’s own makes super case.”
Maybe the two other finalists, both from out of state, will get similar moments of Herald glory, but they shouldn’t hold their breath.
Meanwhile, the Globe offers a quick first take on what the three finalists say they would bring to the job of helming the state’s largest school district. While Santos offers comments in an interview with reporter James Vaznis, the other two finalists, Marie Izquierdo, chief academic officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and Brenda Cassellius, former state education commissioner in Minnesota, provided statements to the paper.
But it’s not just the media optics that may give Santos an edge. The search comes after the aborted tenure of Tommy Chang, who arrived in Boston in 2015 but was run out of town in 2018 with two years left on his contract after stepping on political and policy minefields and not clicking with Mayor Marty Walsh.
That has framed the search for a successor, in part, as a quest for someone who will be able to better navigate the complex issues facing the schools and understand the political sensibilities that are always part of big decisions facing the district. In that context, who could better fit the bill than someone already steeped in the local ways?
After being raised in the city by an immigrant mother, Santos eventually went on to teach in Boston, serve as a principal in the district, spend three years as superintendent in Randolph, and then land at Cathedral High School, where he has run the Boston Catholic preparatory school since 2013.
“I grew up in Boston,” Santos tells the Globe. “I not only know the geography of the city, but I know the feeling of the city. I understand the scars of Boston busing. I understand the challenges and the inequities that have existed. I know it because I have lived it. It’s not something I have read in a book.”
City Councillor Annissa Essaibi George told the Herald she’s interested in a candidate with “deeper roots to Boston,” but said she’s looking forward to hearing what each candidate could contribute.
The Globe sought out education leaders who could comment on the track record of each finalist. While people with serious education credentials offered praise for Izquierdo and Cassellius, it was a very familiar voice offering testimonial to Santos: one-time Boston superintendent and former Boston Latin School head master Michael Contompasis.
No one is saying the fix is in, but it’s hard not to sense an echo of the recent state education commissioner search, which featured two out-of-state women candidates and Jeff Riley, a former Boston principal and administrator who was serving as state-appointed receiver for the troubled Lawrence schools. There was a case to be made for all three, but the state education board wound up going with the one whose track record they knew best and who would have a head start in dealing with all the particulars of place.
A Berkshire Eagle editorial calls on Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Berkshire Nautilus owner Jim Ramondetta to find some common ground in an increasingly bitter dispute over parking.
Given President Trump’s idea of shipping immigrants picked up at the border to “Sanctuary Cities,” Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone asks, “Does this mean the country’s no longer over-crowded?” Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern acknowledged that Trump’s idea would make things “difficult” but said his city could provide services for a couple thousand. (WGBH)
Lobbyists at Boston City Hall now have to register and disclose what they’re doing. (Boston Globe)
The Robbins Library in Arlington has gotten into the nationwide trend of doing away with late fees so as to encourage more people to use the book-borrowing institutions. (WBUR)
Braintree police unveiled a one-of-a-kind evidence room with additional security measures, built after an audit and investigation by Attorney General Maura Healey‘s office found that a former police evidence officer had stolen drugs, cash and firearms from the room. (Patriot Ledger)
The Hampshire Council of Governments, the last vestige of county government in the area, is shutting down. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
David Daley skewers US Rep. Richard Neal for palling around with big campaign donors and accepting huge amounts of money from special interest groups. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Joan Vennochi says Bernie Sanders is smart to have done a town hall on enemy ground — Fox News. (Boston Globe)
Margery Eagan says Pete Buttigieg is exposing the hypocrisy of conservative white Christians who support a president “whose policies go against Christianity at almost every turn.” (Boston Globe)
The Boston Center for Adult Education is suing two of its employees, one of whom is a Saugus selectman, for stealing $750,000 from the nonprofit. (Daily Item)
Nantucket residents who want to honor the Stop & Shop picket line have to labor a bit to show their labor loyalties, as it’s the only supermarket chain on the island. (Boston Globe)
Among the proposals submitted for redevelopment of a prime parcel in Roxbury’s Dudley Square is one that envisions several hundred units of mixed-income housing that would target units to city teachers. (Boston Globe)
Medicare for All is a big hit with Massachusetts pols, but the state’s biggest hospitals don’t like it at all. (CommonWealth)
The parent company of Brigham and Women’s Hospital is buying the former headquarters of the Massachusetts State Lottery in Braintree for its physician practices, according to William Johnston, the senior vice president of ambulatory services for Brigham Health. (Patriot Ledger)
A Route 111 MBTA bus struck and killed a pedestrian in Chelsea early this morning. (WBUR)
Traffic fatalities in Boston are down by nearly a half since 2016. (Boston Globe)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the next phase of ongoing work on the Bourne Bridge is expected to begin this afternoon, which will include closing the bridge’s sidewalks for about 2½ weeks. Car traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction, and wide loads prohibited. (Cape Cod Times)
A Globe editorial says Wynn Resorts should be allowed to keep its license and open its casino in Everett, but pay a hefty fine for the sexual misconduct issues that have dogged the company — and its namesake founder and former CEO, Steve Wynn.
A judge has blocked the release of video surveillance of Robert Kraft at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa — for now. (Boston Globe)
Superior Court Judge Raffi Yessayan ordered the Fall River police department to stop charging panhandlers until a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union is resolved. Yessayan said a law the police department is relying on for enforcement is probably unconstitutional. (Herald News)
Protesters descended on the Boston Globe offices in downtown Boston protesting what they say is coverage by the paper of climate change that doesn’t sufficiently convey the gravity of the situation. (Boston Globe) Meanwhile, the Globe is expanding coverage in Rhode Island and asking the public for tips on what to cover.
Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that financially controls more than 100 local newspapers around the country, including the Boston Herald, put nearly $250 million of employee pension savings into its investment funds in recent years. The Labor Department is investigating. (Washington Post)