Thursday, 4:30 PM
Boston selects new schools superintendent
|Dr. Manuel J. Rivera, superintendent of the Rochester City School District, NY.|
By Tracy Jan and Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff
After a nine-month search that appeared to disintegrate in June, Boston has selected the man it wants as its new schools superintendent.
Manuel J. Rivera, superintendent of Rochester, N.Y., schools, will retire at the end of the school year and take over the Boston post, becoming the city's first Hispanic superintendent.
"We are so fortunate to get him to come to Boston," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who announced Rivera's selection at a 1:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. "He's innovative, creative. He connects with the community."
Rivera told the Globe that he has not officially been offered the job and that he plans to resign from the Rochester job on July 10, one day after his 55th birthday. He said he did have an early interest in the Boston job, but did not commit to being a finalist until about two weeks ago.
"Then I started thinking about the possibilities of a Boston," he said in an interview today in his Rochester office. "They’ve had a great superintendent. It's terrific. They just won the Broad prize [the top award for urban education]. It's like joining a winning team.”
Rivera said he would be glad to submit to public interviews, which have not yet been scheduled.
Menino and the School Committee had promised public meetings with a slate of finalists at the start of the search, but four of the search committee's top five candidates, including Rivera, dropped out of the running in June after their names were published in the Globe before an official announcement. The final candidate, a Charleston County, S.C. school official, dropped out yesterday.
Rivera said his decision to leave Rochester was agonizing because he believe he has an uncommonly strong relationship with a variety of groups: the unions, the school committee, the mayor, business leaders, parents, and students.
Yesterday, staff members were saddened and stunned at the announcement. His cell phone rang constantly. And a local radio station asked listeners to call the school system and urge Rivera to stay.
Rivera appeals to a wide range of people in Rochester. Businesses and government leaders say they appreciate his commitment to accountability and spending money wisely. Advocates say they respect his efforts to address outside issues that can affect learning, such as providing health care and other services to families in poor areas.
"It's all about relationships and collaboration and being open and being transparent in what we do," he said. "People respond to that."