For the fourth time in lit-
tle more than a decade, the Field school district is looking for a new superintendent.
The departure of Superintendent Beth Coleman -- who resigned, yet admitted Monday that she didn't want to step down -- is an all-too-familiar turn of events in Field, and an especially disturbing one for a district facing serious financial challenges that cannot be adequately addressed without solid leadership.
Superintendent Coleman is a "homegrown" product of the Field district unlike her predecessors. Like them, however, she apparently ran afoul of a majority of the school board, which made it impossible for her tenure to continue.
No administrator can provide effective leadership in an atmosphere of turmoil. No leader can provide direction when it is impossible to focus on the future.
No decent employer hires an administrator to set them up to fail, but the loss of four competent school superintendents in a relatively short period of time cannot help but raise questions about the elected leadership of the Field district. It's one thing to hire a superintendent who turns out to be a "bad fit," but there seems to be an unfortunate pattern here.
The Field district serves one of the fastest growing communities in Portage County. Those who choose to live in Brimfield and Suffield -- and many have made that choice in the past decade or so -- do so with the expectation that the schools will provide a top-notch education for their children. The chronic personnel turnover and atmosphere of divisiveness and upheaval Field is experiencing cannot help but take a toll on its educational mission.
During Monday's board meeting, more than a dozen speakers shared their thoughts on Superintendent Coleman's departure. "We are never going to get to a place where we have an experienced superintendent if this continues," one told the school board.
Quite true. And it will be even more difficult -- if not impossible -- to persuade voters to support more local funding for the schools as long as there is a revolving door on the superintendent's office.