Home > Uncategorized > Brett Kavanaugh Would Not Have Been Hired as Superintendent in Hanover, NH

Brett Kavanaugh Would Not Have Been Hired as Superintendent in Hanover, NH

October 5, 2018

Like most Americans, I am watching the Supreme Court nomination process unfold. Unlike many Americans, I have been subjected to close scrutiny in being hired as a public school superintendent. In hiring someone to lead their district, school boards need to vet the superintendent, with larger districts often delegating the task to a professional consultant and smaller districts using personal contacts to determine the fitness of candidates.

The last district I was hired for was School Administrative Unit #70, an interstate district that includes Hanover NH, Norwich VT, and the Dresden Interstate Compact that oversees the secondary schools serving the students in those two towns. To obtain that appointment, I was interviewed on multiple occasions by the board, behind closed doors by teams representing employees, parents, and members of the public, and finally in public in a venue that resembled a press conference. Finally, my history as an administrator was closely scrutinized in a fashion that went beyond the list of names of references. This was all done to ensure that the individual the board was selecting to lead their school district for three years was capable, qualified, and a good match for the communities.

As a candidate for the assignment and one who had frequently led searches for school principals, I was especially impressed with the vetting of references. One of the Board members on the search committee was a retired CIA administrator who was relentless in his review of my performance in my previous district. As is customary, he called the names of the five references I provided. But after he interviewed them, three of them called me to indicate that when he talked to them he was very friendly but also very probing, asking each of them who else they thought he should talk to and who he might talk to who might have something negative to share. I know that he made at least one phone call to someone NOT on the list and also know that he eventually contacted one adversary whose name came up repeatedly.

As I watched Mr. Kavanaugh’s performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee I could not help but think that had I treated questioners who were inquiring about my background in the same fashion as he did I would have not been appointed as Superintendent anywhere. Moreover, based on what I’ve heard and read so far, it seems that the FBI’s “investigation” of Mr. Kavanaugh was proscribed to the point where the agency was not allowed to ask the questions Board members asked of my references and was not allowed to pursue every lead they were given. I just read a list of those NOT interviewed by the FBI and it does not give me confidence in the depth of their analysis. Had the retired CIA administrator who made calls to my references been able to study Mr. Kavanaugh’s background I’d feel far more confident in the findings.

There is one more difference between my experience and Mr. Kavanaugh’s: I was applying to secure a three year contract that would be only be renewed if I passed muster at the end of that time. Mr. Kavanaugh is applying for a lifetime contract. I am disappointed in what I’ve heard thus far about the vetting process done by the FBI and VERY disappointed at the character I observed during Mr. Kavanaugh’s “interview”. If the school board made a bad choice based on their hiring process they could have non-renewed me after three years. If Congress makes a bad choice, our nation could be saddled with a questionable Supreme Court justice for his lifetime…. and the decisions he will be rendering will have an impact on public education for decades.

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  1. Byron Knutsen
    October 7, 2018 at 2:41 am

    There is a large part of the process we never saw, that is when Judge Kavanaugh went to meet with those on the senate panel who wanted to meet one on one with him. So we can only “guess” what was the tone (set by both sides) there.

    In my several years of interviews for science/math positions in education and industry I never was ask a disrespectful question anywhere by anyone. He can’t say the same. I would have fought back if I had ever been treated as he was even if I lost an opportunity to teach in that district or work for a company. For some reason it seems to me that anyone who is the least bit conservative has to take what every is dished out to him/her because they are judged almost always wrong. So sad.

    And lastly, my understanding is that the FBI report was confidential and that those who have read it (aside from the senators) are forming opinions using materials “leaked” to the “specials ones”. I am not one who is fortunate to know where to get such materials so all I can go on is what I hear a person say for him/herself which is way more informative. Especially when the comment has not been edited.

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