By David Boyle

The Anchorage School Board’s selection for the new superintendent does not meet the minimum criteria.

The State of Alaska requires a superintendent to have at least three years of education. Yet Jharrett Bryantt, the new superintendent, has only two years of classroom teaching.

This requirement is set forth in Alaska Administrative Code 4 AAC 12.345, which states the minimum experience requirements as follows:

(A) for a superintendent’s endorsement, at least five years of satisfactory employment as a teacher or administrator, with a minimum of

(i) three years of employment as a teacher in an elementary or secondary program with a teaching certificate under 4 AAC 12.305.

Bryantt has only two years of teaching experience, according to his resume. It is difficult to understand how the council and its research contractor, Ray & Associates Inc., could have missed this minimum standard.

Read Bryantt’s resume here.

Even more amazing is how Dr. Bryantt, the current director of human resources for the Houston Independent School District, failed to acknowledge the minimum staffing requirement in the job listing.

It is now up to the ASD board and the state Department of Education and Early Development to determine whether Dr. Bryantt meets the minimum qualifications or needs a waiver.

But this minimum requirement should not be waived, according to some. The minimum requirements are just that – the bare minimum. If a waiver is granted, the integrity of the entire selection process is called into question.

The other two finalists, who have met the minimum education requirement, also have a case against the district. They were not selected on a candidate who did not meet the minimum requirements.

The district also surveyed the public and ASD employees to determine their priorities in selecting a new superintendent. The number one priority for teachers, parents and support staff was “Has a classroom experience in a K-12 setting.”

Administrators ranked the classroom experience as their third highest priority; students ranked it fourth in priority. There were 31 different qualities/characteristics ranked; the classroom experience was near the top.

Here is the complete table showing the qualities/characteristics of a new superintendent, the rankings and the different groups of respondents to the district survey, which was self-selected in terms of participation. The items highlighted are those that the board has been recommended to use in its selection process.

Note that item 23, “Is able to lead the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” only ranked in the middle of the group.

Most of these highlighted elements are what a leader should possess. What we don’t know is whether the board used these elements in their selection process.

The integrity of the selection process is called into question by this finding. Was the process valid or was it aimed at obtaining a certain candidate? Will the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development be persuaded to waive a minimum requirement or adhere to its criteria?

David Boye is the former executive director of the Alaska Policy Forum and is the author of Must Read Alaska on Education.