BOSTON - The new superintendent of Boston Public Schools hasn't been on the job for a full month and is already facing criticism stemming over the issue of equity with Boston Public School students and access to some of the city's best schools.
Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius is a mom, educator, and a hockey player and she says, future Bruins fan. The former Commissioner of Education in Minnesota plans to jump right into her new job in Boston by committing to visit all 125 schools in the district in her first 100 days at a pace of five schools a day.
"I do think I can do it," Cassellius told Boston 25 News anchor Heather Hegedus. "I wouldn't have said it if I didn't think I could do it."
She would also like to move to various city neighborhoods during her tenure here and has a clause in her contract for annual moving expenses.
"And if I live it, I walk the streets, then I know first hand and I think I can be a better superintendent that way," she said.
Cassellius has already faced criticism over comments she made last week that the admissions test for the city's exam schools is expensive and she's open to finding a cheaper alternative.
It caused a civil right's group to say she's out of touch - saying the real issue is lack of access and preparation for minority students who are under-represented in those highly competitive schools.
"I'm digging into all of that as we begin to unpack what opportunities may not be in front of our children and making sure they are in front of our children," Cassellius said.
"You identify as African American and one concern here in Boston Public Schools has been equity," Hegedus said.
Cassellius replied, "I grew up in poverty on welfare in public housing so I definitely understand what the children here - have - the barriers they have in front of them."
There has been a lot of turnover in Cassellius' office. There have been six Boston Public School superintendents in 13 years, but she says if all goes well, she'd like to stay in this role until the students in kindergarten this year graduate - which would be 13 years.
I sat down w/ the new @BostonSchools Superintendent @BCassellius & learned why she wants to move to a new apartment in a different neighborhood in Boston each year, how she plans to address equity issues in the schools, & the male-dominated sport she excels at on @boston25 at 6. pic.twitter.com/UcDIK1boqM— Heather Hegedus (@HeatherHegedus) July 16, 2019
Hegedus asked Cassellius why she thinks it's been so hard to succeed as a superintendent.
"You know I don't know. but all I can say is I'm willing to put in the commitment that's needed from my end, have a real good working relationship with the school committee and the mayor," Cassellius said. "It's also really important to be able to bring about consensus with the whole community."
Cassellius has a three-year contract with a starting salary of $280,000 which is roughly $20,000 more than her predecessor Tommy Chang was paid in his first year.
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