Unified names superintendent finalist

2013-02-11T14:21:00Z 2013-12-18T13:08:07Z Unified names superintendent finalistLINDSAY FIORI lindsay.fiori@journaltimes.com Journal Times

RACINE — A D.C. Public Schools administrator was named the sole finalist in Racine Unified’s months-long superintendent search on Monday.

Lolli Haws is the instructional superintendent for 13 schools in the Washington, D.C., system; she works to facilitate better student performance and reduce achievement gaps. Of seven candidates interviewed in Racine earlier this month for Unified’s top job, she is the favorite of board members. Haws will come back for a final interview and public forum on Feb. 19, board President Dennis Wiser said Monday following a two-hour closed session meeting during which board members selected Haws as their superintendent finalist.

“She stood out head and shoulders above everyone else,” Wiser said. “She interviewed well, has the background we’re looking for and has interest in closing achievement gaps.”

Board members liked that Haws, 58, of Fairfax, Va., has worked in an impoverished urban district facing budget cuts, Wiser explained.

Haws has been a D.C. Public Schools instructional superintendent since beginning work with that district in July 2010. As instructional superintendent, she leads school staff in developing school improvement plans, analyzing student data, increasing inclusion of special education students in regular classrooms and implementing a newer “Common Core” curriculum, according to her résumé. All those things are ongoing in Racine Unified.

Haws’ résumé says of the 13 schools she supervises, 11 “demonstrated improvement in math and reading achievement over two years.” The percentage of her students scoring proficient on D.C.’s annual standardized tests do not confirm such progress, data shows, but Haws said assessments measuring students’ progress from the beginning of a school year to the end do illustrate that growth.

“We’re seeing a lot of movement among students that are basic getting close to proficient,” she said, adding she believes “every child can be successful.”

Prior to her work in D.C., Haws was principal of elementary schools in Virginia and Missouri. She began her education career in 1976 as a teacher of the hearing impaired in South Dakota, according to her résumé.

She is from Minnesota and her husband is from Michigan, she said, which makes Racine an ideal location.

“We are looking to move back to the Midwest,” she said. “It’s closer to my family and his family.”

Haws became interested in leading Racine Unified because of its “potential,” epitomized by the district’s science-based and advanced programming, she said.

“All of those are just really pluses for the district and I am confident we can take those good things and really capitalize on them,” she said.

The board is hiring a superintendent to replace Ann Laing, who took the position on an interim basis after former Superintendent Jim Shaw retired in August 2011. Laing’s replacement would begin work July 1. His or her contract will likely include a salary of $200,000 to $225,000 annually, plus benefits.

Other candidates

More than 60 people applied for Unified’s superintendent position and the board interviewed seven of them, including Haws, on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 during meetings closed to the public because they related to personnel.

Haws was announced as the sole finalist on Monday. Having one finalist is allowed under state law, said Bob Dreps, a lawyer who represents the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and its members, including The Journal Times.

School Board President Wiser declined to give the names of the other interviewed candidates on Monday, saying he needed to check with the district’s attorney before releasing information.

State law says public boards must provide information on at least five final candidates if more than five apply, Dreps said, citing a 2004 opinion from then-

Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, who concluded a school district that interviewed eight candidates had to disclose all eight names.

“In your case,” Dreps said, “... since they apparently made their choice from a group of seven, then the public is entitled to seven names.”

The Journal Times filed an open records request for that information on Monday.

Meet Haws

WHAT: Meet Racine Unified superintendent finalist Lolli Haws and ask her questions during a free public forum.

WHEN: From 6 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 

WHERE: Racine Unified’s central office, 3109 Mount Pleasant St.

Copyright 2016 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Wisconsin Ed
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    Wisconsin Ed - February 15, 2013 4:03 pm
    Yes they are.....absolutely Terrible! I took it up on myself to call into Ms. Haws area and do some research, and the results have not been impressive!
  2. Wisconsin Ed
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    Wisconsin Ed - February 15, 2013 4:01 pm
    I'm more concerned with why they are bringing someone in from DC when they are one of the most messed up education areas in the country.....? Aren't we trying to increase our children's education potential? the growth of our children have always relied on effective teachers, and as I have sat in Board meetings here in Racine, only over the last few month have I seen a more quality increase towards helping teachers be better teachers instead of just firing them, And that's over a 9 year period. I will be there to voice my opinions on the matter as the future of the children of Racine should not be taken lightly. I'm sure Ms. Haws is a wonderful woman but she is not the right fit for our schools. We need to step back and see what changes have taken place over the few months and who has been added because as I mentioned I have seen a change begin. And someone internally is responsible, I have a pretty good Idea of who but I think we should put that person in the position of Superintendent.
  3. timmwi
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    timmwi - February 12, 2013 10:21 pm
    Whether she was a "stand out candidate" or not, the community deserved to see a panel of candidates to listen to, share concerns and make suggestions. I'm going to ask her at the Forum how much HER plan for RUSD is going to cost the District. All Superintendents have their own agenda. Hicks had Continuous Progress, which failed miserably. Shaw had the North Star, which no one really understands. We need a Superintendent who will cut the "fat" at Central Office, remove Principals of failing schools and hold students/parents accountable for their behavior. None of these things deserve "consultants" or millions of dollars in research/materials.W'e're broke, Ms. Haws.

    One a related note....what makes Dan Theilen (former principal at Park HS) qualified to be Head of Human Resources? Isn't Education a different degree program than Education? Come on RUSD, trim the fat, hire certified and qualified personnel.
  4. ordmm
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    ordmm - February 12, 2013 5:14 pm
    This is an easy call. They hire Ms. Haws. At 58 she is pretty much at the end of her career. The school boards and Ms. Haws will learn to dislike each other the first year. Ms.
    Haws will start figuring a way to get an early buyout. She will take a retirement package enhancement to retire. Early in 2014 the school system will begin a new search for superintendant. After all.....The D.C. is a big version of educational failure. Racine can be the little version.
  5. layedback
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    layedback - February 12, 2013 2:47 pm
    I hate to say this, but Dr. Hicks was the panacea to solve the educational issues this district faces...too bad he was not fiscally responsible...he was on the right path with his Mastery Learning, Instructional Process, Affective Training and use of MAP and Lexile Scores as instructional tools...Had he remained, District Department Heads and Principals would have had the data they would have needed to pursue ineffective instruction...he would have given RUSD teachers the instructional tools necessary to bring education out of the "closed classroom door" it has become...

    So the answer is, what is this or any new superintendent going to accomplish to bring education first and foremost...
  6. MUfan02
    Report Abuse
    MUfan02 - February 12, 2013 12:35 pm
    This is a great point. We only have to look south to Kenosha to see what a new Superintendent can claim. Dr. Hancock came in and slashed budgets and didn't think about "her" student's education. She then took full credit for all the awards that were won under the previous administration.

    It is tough for a superintendent in a large district to know students, but it can be done. They need to get out in the classrooms and give credit where credit is due.
  7. jweezy
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    jweezy - February 12, 2013 9:37 am
    I like how no credit is given to the teachers in her district... she said her students.. unless it was the way the story was written.. but I challenge her to name 15 of "her" students who excelled and the 15 must know her back. Perhaps taking credit where none is due isn't something that should be valued.
  8. Gearhead
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    Gearhead - February 12, 2013 9:12 am
    So test scores didn't improve. Probably because they didn't spend enough, right? Wait, isn't per student spending in DC the highest in the country? Be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets. The die has already been cast.
  9. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - February 12, 2013 8:31 am
    RUSD must be judged by it's actions - not it's untrustworthy and false claims.

    BOTTOM LINE - RUSD educates the children that comprise the future tax base of The District. What is the state and condition of that tax base? That is the real-world evaluation that no one will acknowledge.

    Long, long ago - the tax rates should have been FIXED, and borrowing limited - severely. That way - IF RUSD did it's job, the tax base increased, along with RUSD's take. HOWEVER - RUSD has been a spectacular FAILURE, and it increases it's take from an ever shrinking tax base., and show that it has NO sensitivity or concern for those who comprise that tax base.

    Do you wonder why your property value falls while while your taxes only increase? Do you wonder why Racine suffers from brain drain, and businesses aren't profitable from DAY ONE? Do you wonder why the only thing Racine officials want to talk about is the importance of Tourists and bringing more Tourist into Racine? (outside money) Eventually this will be settled in Bankruptcy Court.

    Re-arranging the deck chairs on the RUSD Titanic won't change the final outcome. Let David Hazen have the millions in debt he contracted for.

    Welcome to Racine - Ms. Haws - here's some Frank Sinatra for 'ya!

  10. Concern4Racine
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    Concern4Racine - February 12, 2013 8:05 am
    I understand that it is legal to only bring one candidate forward for final consideration, but is it really a fair evaluation of the top candidates if there is only one? As a tax payer, a concerned RUSD parent, and a citizen of Racine I would like to see several candidates so that I could make a comparison of skill sets. If the Board only brings forward one candidate why waste anyone's time to hold public meetings the decision has already been made and it is just a formality?
  11. sizzlinginracine
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    sizzlinginracine - February 11, 2013 8:28 pm
    So she said on her resume that the schools improved, but the data that measures that says otherwise.

    Isn't DC one of the worst school systems in the US?
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