KC school board makes Green superintendent

Promising that “turmoil and inconsistency will come to an end,” Kansas City Superintendent Steve Green agreed Monday to a two-year contract to become the district’s permanent leader.

Green, who has been interim superintendent, said, “I’m here for the long haul.”

A unanimous school board approved the contract, which will pay Green $250,000 each year, including two one-year extensions that would extend the contract to four years.

There are no raises in the contract, but instead a network of far-reaching incentives that could provide bonuses.

The board opted not to conduct another national search to replace former Superintendent John Covington, board President Airick Leonard West said.

The district needs stability, West said, and the board agreed that Green had earned their confidence.

“Instead of an exhausting national search, we decided to double down on the leadership that is already here,” West said.

Green stepped into the interim role Aug. 31, one wild week after Covington’s unexpected resignation announcement scrambled the district.

Green’s immediate task will be to get the school district back to accreditation. The state removed Kansas City’s provisional accreditation Jan. 1 and intensified a collaborative effort with the district to improve academic achievement.

The district has until June 2014 to regain accreditation or face state takeover, but lawmakers this spring are considering legislation that would give the state the discretion to step in sooner.

Green said he will be bringing “my talent, my time and my tenacity” to impress on the community and the state that “this is a district on an upward climb.”

The school board scheduled a special meeting to complete the deal on the eve of Tuesday’s school board election — an action that drew criticism from the Rev. Sam Mann, who is running against West for his at-large seat.

Four of the board’s nine seats are up for election, with a total of 14 known candidates in the race.

Mann believes the board should have held off and allowed the new board to complete the superintendent hiring process. Pushing forward Monday gave undue attention to the incumbent board members, he said.

“It was a political move,” Mann said.

The board has been working for many weeks to complete a deal with Green, West said. He and other board members had wanted to finalize the decision by the first of March to build confidence that the district intends to stabilize its leadership.

Details of the contract prolonged the process, he said.

“We wanted to remove the idea of an interim superintendent as quickly as possible,” West said. The timing of the agreement “was the soonest we can have it done.”

The district has gone through more than four decades where superintendents have lasted less than six years, most of them much less.

Since 2006, Anthony Amato resigned under pressure after barely 18 months on the job, followed by two interim superintendents, and then Covington, who left for another job after two years.

Green, originally from Indiana, has lived in the Kansas City area since 2005 when he was recruited by the Kauffman Foundation to lead its Kauffman Scholars program.