BUSD: Potential chief had ‘too much explaining to do’

Edmond Heatley: “Too much negativity associated with him”

Now that its one finalist for the post of superintendent has withdrawn his candidacy, the Berkeley Unified School District board will probably not begin looking in earnest again for a replacement to retired superintendent Bill Huyett until late winter or early spring 2013.

“Any superintendent of merit is already sitting in a superintendent job,” said Board President John Selawsky on Tuesday afternoon, the day Edmond Heatley, former schools superintendent of Clayton County, Georgia, removed his name from consideration.

Selawsky said Heatley’s withdrawal was provident, because there was so much negativity associated with him. “Could he possibly be successful here?” said Selawsky. “He would have had too much explaining to do.”

At issue, said Selawsky, was Heatley’s role in the passage of a resolution in support of Proposition 8 when he was superintendent in San Bernardino County’s Chino Valley school district. Selawski said the board did not hear about this until “very late in the process,” specifically shortly before the Sept. 12 BUSD board meeting when members of the public made reference to it. “It might have made it easier if we had known earlier,” Selawsky said.


Whether Heatley supported Prop. 8 or not was not the question, said Selawsky, but rather that he put his name to a memo that made a clear argument urging the passage of Prop. 8. “This was not about one specific issue, but what the issue represented for our community. It’s about the bigger picture and whether this candidate would be a match for the community,” he said.

Asked for her comment on Heatley’s move, Board Member Karen Hemphill said: “I believe his decision to withdraw was a good one.”

Asked whether there would be any legal repercussions to the Heatley affair, Selawski said he didn’t think so. “Nothing was signed. Heatley was not offered a contract.”

The BUSD board hired search consultancy Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates at a cost of $30,000 to help them with the recruitment process. Selawsky said the board would have to discuss whether they would continue to use them in the search going forward.


Related:
Heatley withdraws candidacy for BUSD superintendent [09.18.12]
Berkeley school board calls special meeting for Tuesday [09.17.12]
Questions about Heatley’s role in Prop 8 resolution swirl [09.14.12]
Superintendent candidate supported Prop 8 in Chino post [09.14.12]
Heatley’s Broad Academy connections attract criticism [09.12.12]
Likely new Berkeley school superintendent under scrutiny [09.05.12]
Berkeley school district names likely superintendent [08.31.12]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.