Having matriculated to State College after being born and raised in Altoona, news of happenings affecting Altoona finds its way to me via friends, relatives, news outlets and co-workers.
Because of my affinity to both communities and the appreciation I have for the difficult issues faced by school board,s I will not, as you might expect, play the management of the State College School District (SCASD) against that of the Altoona Area School District (AASD).
This comment is in support of Superintendent Dennis Murray. Although he is not known to me personally, and I have only met him once for less than two minutes, I have developed an appreciation of his accomplishments and effectiveness via the previously listed resources.
The animosity erupting between a few AASD school board members and a wildly successful and effective outgoing superintendent is disturbing.
From 40 miles away, it is clear to me that Murray has performed many, many acts of financial creativity and shrewd management.
For his contributions, the AASD school board should be recognizing Murray for his accomplishments and expressing appreciation for efforts that may have only occurred in the presence of his particular leadership abilities.
By the accounts related to me, it seems that a few school board members are practicing "seagull management," loudly squawking, leaving a mess and then flying off having spent an inordinate amount of attention and money to a relatively small, potentially trumped up issue that denigrates their responsibilities as school board members.
Everyone has an agenda, but once on the school board it is the responsibility of members to act professionally and cooperate in moving the AASD in a positive direction and not soil themselves, the AASD or the outgoing superintendent, who might be the most effective superintendent they will ever encounter.
It is clear to me that Murray deserves more consideration and respect than do the more vocal members of school board. Altoona should provide support for Murray.
He has proven to be an effective leader for 29 years and it is likely that it is not he who has changed.
Residents of Altoona should be interrogating current school board members as to their motives for the attacks on Murray and insist that they be professional, cordial and concentrate on the big picture - the health and image of the school district.