As I had previewed earlier, the Little Rock School Board met in private yesterday with Superintendent Linda Watson as part of its review of her work. She’s entering the final year of a three-year contract.
I read in the Democrat-Gazette today that supporters of Watson appeared to laud the district’s performance under her leadership — Sen. Tracy Steele, Rep. Linda Chesterfield and JP Mary Louise Williams. Bad company. In their public roles, they are known for the kind of buddy-system practices that have caused unhappiness about Watson’s leadership. (Even now she’s pushing for hiring an old associate for another highly paid central office administrator.) Lawyer and legislative candidate John Walker’s careful remarks at the meeting can be construed as oppositional to those from the trio of Watson defenders.
The situation is fluid. It’s my reading that a majority of the Board isn’t prepared to extend Watson’s contract and will begin the process of looking for new leadership by the start of the school year. That could change. Watson has a powerful ally in teacher union president Cathy Kohler, but that support is not necessarily to be construed as a sign of unified rank-and-file support.