Looking through my journal this week, I found a printout of a letter that was printed in the January 20, 2000 issue of Las Vegas Weekly. Checking their web site showed that issues that old are no longer online. In the interest of preserving one of my first published letters, as well as adding some spunk to this droll little blog and ushering in summer vacation time in style, here it is.
First, some background. In 2000, I was a senior in college and the Clark County School District, which had ballooned almost overnight into one of the largest in the nation, found itself without a superintendent. Nobody around here was qualified or wanted to do it. Seriously. So a committee scoured the country looking for people. Some of those seemed promising, but they dropped out of the running. We ended up with a guy from California who ditched us a couple years ago for a textbook company. His administration was, uh, less than universally loved.
Anyway, during the debacle of trying to give away a powerful job to somebody, anybody, I wrote in the following:
After months of standing by and doing nothing while our city’s educational establishment has been reduced to a quivering bowl of pink jelly, I’ve decided I must act! I am shocked, even outraged, that this endless search for a new superintendent has produced so little satire, which it so richly deserves. Accordingly, I am officially throwing my hat in the ring of candidates to be considered for the position.
Months of sitting idly by watching this committee has left me, like most Las Vegans, somewhere between morbidly offended and slightly bemused. But fear not, for I shall accept my patriotic duty and save you from further embarrassment and costly ad campaigns.
This process has become a bloated, pathetic farce, and nobody is more prepared to benefit from it than I am. I volunteer to take the job that nobody wants; I will be superintendent of the Clark County School District.
Who am I? I am an education major at UNLV. How can I be qualified for this position, you ask? I’m the most qualified candidate you’ve had so far!
1. As a teacher-in-training, I’ve had literally weeks of experience being in the general vicinity of classrooms, which already puts me head and shoulders above most administrative professionals. Also, my own career as a public school student is much more recent than any other candidate’s, giving me an edge in understanding the issues facing children today and in manipulating the public’s desire to have quirky young people in figurehead positions of authority.
2. So critical to being an effective superintendent are the abilities of making yourself look good by doing whatever’s trendy in your field and by putting politics ahead of actual success. I have had ample exposure to the best of the best doing just this. I have spent the last four years at an American college.
3. My college indoctrination has prepared me to be a quality leader in cutting edge curriculum and instruction: I can spout all the right buzzwords and quote all the fashionable experts. Just listen to my mission statement: “Celebrate diversity and multicultural empowerment with a vision of inclusive awareness and raise test scores if there’s any time left over.” As superintendent, I will spearhead dozens of pointless programs that will consistently disappoint everybody. Will any other candidate make this bold promise?
4. Much of the debate has centered on the salary issue. Let me settle this right now: if chosen to be superintendent, I will sacrifice my entry-level wages as a teacher and work for a measly, piddling $100,000 a year, a mere fraction of what others have been offered. No, don’t protest. I’ll get by on bread and water.
5. What about my career as a teacher? After researching the superintendent’s position, I have found that he’s not actually required to do anything. I will delegate paperwork to my army of underlings, make token appearances at social functions, and humbly continue my service as an educator of our youth if my golf schedule permits.
I can confidently assert that I am the best option as I appear to be the only person who’s actually applying for the job. Let’s end this circus. Choose me. I’m a little bit better than nobody, and a whole lot better than the other yahoos you’ve looked at. Please contact me anytime for a resume and an interview.
Eight and a half years later, I think this holds up pretty well!