Wake expected to name new superintendent

Anthony Tata
December 21, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
The Wake County School Board's leading candidate for the system's superintendent position is already stirring up doubt.Board members haven't yet officially announced his name, but sources tell ABC11 Eyewitness News it's Anthony Tata.

The 51-year-old is a retired general and an author, whose critics say lacks extensive education experience.

"The Washington DC community doesn't know a whole lot about this candidate either," said John Wilson, who taught in North Carolina for 23 years and now presides over the National Education Association in DC. "I'm sure he's ... a fine person. I think for this person it's going to be quite challenging and quite frankly, this is a school board that is very hands on."

Tata's resume is long and impressive. He attended West Point and Harvard and retired as a Brigadier General after spending 28 years in the Army and commanding paratroopers at Fort Bragg.

Besides the job he's held as Chief Operating Officer of DC Schools --stream lining system wide purchases since June of 2009-- local educators say they know little about Tata's education credentials.

"I personally think the priority is to have someone who's been in the ranks, who's been an educator," Yevonne Brannon with Great Schools in Wake Coalition said. "I'm really disappointed in the process."

Brannon says another problem is how the school board's new majority selected candidates to replace former Superintendant Del Burns, who left earlier this year.

"There have been no vetting by the public of any candidates and I think when you have a process that is shrouded in secrecy and behind the door conversations, I think it loses faith with the public," Brannon said.

Wake County School Board Member Anne McLaurin told ABC11 Wednesday that she was told last week there would be no meetings this week. She also says that she and other board members have not been given any material to make an informed decision for any type of vote Thursday.

She says basically to do this two days before Christmas while everyone is off and without any material, "Is just a bad way to govern. It's poor government. Nothing has to be done tomorrow."

Thursday's announcement is expected to be made at a 4:30 p.m. meeting at Wake County Schools' headquarters.

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