NEWS BLOG: Malgieri and Ansbrow join the Rochester school district. Wow!

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER

Among the more interesting news over the weekend was the D&C’s report that two heavy-hitters – Patty Malgieri and William Ansbrow – have accepted top administration positions in the Rochester school district.

Malgieri, who is leaving a job at Hillside, will become Superintendent Bolgen Vargas’s chief of staff. Before joining Hillside, Malgieri served as Rochester’s deputy mayor and, earlier, headed the Center for Governmental Research. Ansbrow, who is currently the city’s budget director, will be the school district’s chief financial officer.

This will be interesting to watch. Malgieri is no novice to education; the Rochester school district was among the subjects of CGR’s research when she was its director (as it continues to be). But she has a strong business-oriented approach, has been a strong critic of the district, and was deputy mayor under Bob Duffy as he pushed for mayoral control of the school district.

We’re already hearing that at least some school board members were surprised at the news – and aren’t one bit happy about it. They have no say on the appointments, though; the superintendent picks his top officials without board approval.

I said this was “interesting news.” Actually, it’s a blockbuster, one that will play out slowly – but I’ll bet dramatically – over the coming weeks and months. Among the flash points: the role and power of the school board.

In the past, some boards have wanted to be heavily involved in decisions about operations. Others have taken a more hands-off approach, believing they should stick strictly to policy making. This board tends toward a desire to be heavily involved, something former Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard complained about.

Tension has already been building between Vargas and a few board members over some of Vargas’s proposals – his plan to close School 16, for instance.

I would bet that the business community is delighted with the Malgieri-Ansbrow appointments. But if school board members stay unhappy about them, we’re in for some interesting times.

2 comments

  1. WILL DR. VARGAS, OR WILL HE NOT FOLLOW SUIT AND CONTINUE THE INFAMOUS PATTERN OF POLITICAL CRONYISM, WHICH IS WELL KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT? THAT IS THE QUESTION. IF AT LEAST ONE OF THE TOP-LEVEL APPOINTMENTS REFERENCED BELOW IS ANY INDICATION, PROBABLY SO — THAT IS THE ANSWER.

    It is very, very interesting (to say the least) that for well over 150 years — the Rochester City School District operated WITHOUT a six-figure-salaried, so-called Chief of Staff position. In fact, the Rochester City School District’s (RCSD’s) first so-called Chief of Staff (Dr. Kim Dyce-Faucette) was not appointed until 2004. I still recall that after he became Interim Rochester City School District (RCSD) Superintendent, Dr. William Cala asked the question openly and publicly: “What does a [so-called] Chief of Staff do? Since many of us in the education community who have hundreds of years of combined service within the RCSD — still don’t know exactly what a so-called Chief of Staff does, and since as I noted earlier, the RCSD operated for most of its existence without one — (if anyone had bothered to ask) many of us would have advised that the position should be eliminated, and that the $100,000-dollars-plus should have been spent on students. We imagine that the new so-called Chief of Staff will operate in the same manner that the old ones did, i.e., in a fashion similar to the way that a fox would operate if assigned to guard a chicken-coop. This whole ordeal makes me think of the mantra that the more people have (economically) — the more they get, and visa-versa, i.e., the less people have (such as the overwhelming majority of Rochester City School District students) — the less they get. The Struggle Continues — as does the deeply entrenched educational gravy-train and status-quo.

    Howard J. Eagle

    1. First, thank you Ms. Towler for reporting this bomb. It is extremely important to know. Parents and concerned community leaders, get ready for Jean Claude 2.0. I can bet my 401k on that. Mr. Eagle-Perfectly stated. When will we wake up? We the board has failed us AGAIN by feigning community cocern by making city residence believe that they were part of the superintendent search. Lie. I do believe that the board gets paid – unheard of in many other districts. I wonder what the board will be accountable for? Will they be responsible for getting students to school ? This may sound dramatic, and over the top but what should one do when thier children are given crumbs to make a meal with? When time after time again, no conversation states what these kids NEED. All we hear ate empty buzz words filtered from big corporations down is rigor. Yes . That is the best concept to use when these kids are dropping out like it’s going out of style. Back to what the community MUST do: refuse to let your child attend school. That is correct. We can’t allow ourselves to be devalued! We have 0 say in any decisions when it comes to our children! I am beyond angry, my polite white gloves now have a film of thick dust upon them and I MUST take them off! Parents wake up! This is not ok!

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