Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sidney Freund Comes to Town - Hallelujah!

At 8 AM this morning the Board of Education held an "emergency" meeting to announce that Dr. Sidney A. Freund will be taking over as Superintendent of Schools on July 1. Actually, he will be meeting with faculty and staff members long before then, as he is clearly eager to begin his new job.

What a refreshing change he is from his two predecessors, neither of whom (despite their earned doctorates) was capable of speaking the English language. Instead of an embarrassment, Greenwich now has a true star leading our educational programs in Town. Sid, as he likes to be known (and reportedly he prefers not to be called "doctor", which right away sets him apart from his two pompously vain predecessors who insisted on the title), comes to us most recently from the Dobbs Ferry school system, where he was Superintendent for over six years. His wife, Lisa, teaches just across King Street at the Rye Brook public school. He lives in Scarsdale, which is an easy commute, and has promised that he will be with us for the long term, unlike his short-lived predecessors. Whee!

Articulate, personable, energetic, and immediately likeable - Sid is everything one could hope for in a Superintendent. Oh, and of course very bright as well, with degrees from Cornell, CCNY, and Teachers' College at Columbia. Imagine that! Our Board of Ed has finally hired a teacher to run our school system. Will wonders never cease?

In all seriousness, your scribe wants to thank Steve Anderson, in particular, who served as head of the search committee. He pointed out that the seach included internal as well as external candidates, and even one or more international candidates. Such a pity Steve was not around to lead the prior search committees as well. Except that then, of course, we might not have been looking again, and thus would have missed out on Sid.

As your scribe said to him this morning, Sid can only take the Greenwich school system upwards from here. Greenwich's ranking has been falling sharply of late, and he is definitely the person to lead us out of the Betty Boop doldrums. (Oops - your scribe had promised himself not to sully this post with the name of Sid's predecessor. Well, perhaps he has half-kept that promise.) In Dobbs Ferry, for example, the percentage of students receiving Regents' Diplomas increased from 49% to 91% under his leadership. Standard & Poors named Dobbs Ferry as one of the "outperforming" school districts in the state, and Newsweek ranked it 49th in the country. He even took over a stalled building project and brought it to successful completion.

Can Sid Freund also walk on water? It remains to be seen. But your scribe confidently predicts that the Town of Greenwich is about to embark on a long and happy love affair with our new Superintendent of Schools. Welcome, Sid! We are lucky to have you with us, and very proud as well. We hope you will be equally proud of us.


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