4 Finalists Named For Boston Public Schools Superintendent

4 Finalists Named For Boston Public Schools Superintendent

Boston Public Schools superintendent finalists, clockwise, from top left: Guadalupe Guerrero, Tommy Chang, Pedro Martinez and Dana Bedden (Boston Public Schools)

Boston Public Schools superintendent finalists, clockwise, from top left: Guadalupe Guerrero, Tommy Chang, Pedro Martinez and Dana Bedden (Boston Public Schools)

BOSTON — The city on Thursday announced four finalists in its search for a new Boston Public Schools superintendent.

The finalists hail from Richmond, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Nevada, and will be here next week to participate in a series of public interviews with the Boston School Committee, as well as panel discussions with BPS students, parents, teachers, school leaders and community partners.

The school committee is expected to take a final vote on its selection March 3.

“The Search Committee has presented four very strong, diverse candidates with proven track records in urban education,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Each can bring transformational change to our schools.”

The finalists are all men and people of color, and three of the four are multilingual.

“I’m happy about the diversity,” said Kim Janey, senior project director at Massachusetts Advocates For Children. “It would have been great to have a woman in the pool, obviously.” (More on this below.)

The candidates are:

Dana Bedden is current Richmond Public Schools superintendent. He assumed that post in January 2014 and was slated to serve in Richmond through the 2016-2017 school year. In Richmond, Bedden brought in an almost entirely fresh administrative team and initiated a district-wide effort to increase academic achievement.

Tommy Chang is the local instructional superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He oversees pilot schools, focus schools and network partnership schools for the district. Chang, a former teacher and principal, also served as a regional director for advocacy and policy for the California Charter Schools Association.

Guadalupe Guerrero is the deputy superintendent of instruction, innovation and social justice for the San Francisco Unified School District. Guerrero previously worked in Boston as a teacher and principal, until 2008, of the struggling Dever Elementary School in Dorchester. Two years after Guerrero left the Dever, it was declared under-performing based on student MCAS performance. The school is now in state receivership.

Pedro Martinez previously served as superintendent of the Washoe County School District in Nevada. He was fired after an apparent misunderstanding that he falsified certified public accountant credentials. He currently serves as a superintendent-in-residence for the Nevada Department of Education.

(See here for their full bios and their candidate applications.)

“The search committee really believes that any one of the four could be superintendent of Boston,” Michael O’Neill, chair of the School Committee and a member of the search committee. “We’re excited to put them forward for the school committee, the mayor and the greater community to consider.”

Former Superintendent Carol Johnson left her post at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. John McDonough has been serving as interim superintendent since.

Before taking office, in 2013, Mayor Walsh called hiring the next full-time superintendent his most important priority. He spent much of his recent State of the City address, in January, discussing improving Boston schools and shoring up a persistent achievement gap.

It is expected that the new superintendent will be ready to start around July 1.

Back to the lack of a female finalist. Roughly 3 out of 4 school staff in BPS are female, according to state statistics. Nationally, women only make up 1 out of 4 school superintendents.

This post was updated Friday, Feb. 20. With additional reporting by WBUR’s Delores Handy.


  • Jean Des Esseintes

    I’m voting for Dana.

    • jshore

      Jean Des Esseintes,

      You might want to investigate further, Dr. Bedden is busy tearing up Richmond with “turnaround.” Boston Public Schools has been there, done that, thank you! Now that the “Race to the Top” money is gone, and didn’t fund anything “sustainable,” the District is threatening to close schools because BPS is stuck with a bloated administrative departments filled with RTT people at Court Street, ed reform vendor contracts, and schools that have TFA teachers with 5 weeks training that they can’t pay for! The, hum, “transformational leaders” hired under RTT left for greener pastures when the money dried up.

  • BlackieBeans

    Johnson….Payzant..and one of these? Doesn’t look like the committee got a good pool from the company.

  • Jeannie Anne Foster

    It is concerning to me that negative situations have been included in these brief biographies for Mr. Guerrero and Mr. Martinez, which implies that the Search Committee has already limited their chances for being selected. So I am wondering now, how much weight, if any, will be given to the feedback obtained from BPS administrators, teachers, and families, during the Q & A Sessions?

    The only candidate, with whom I am familiar but have never met, is Pedro Martinez. His research at Harvard University stressed the importance of data-driven instruction. Another part of his research highlighted the significance and relationship between school-wide management of discipline and test scores for the entire school.