Incoming Rochester City School Superintendent Terry Dade was back in Rochester this week for the first time since he was hired.
District spokesperson Carlos Garcia said Dade flew into the city on Tuesday and had back-to-back meetings with district leaders and other local groups since then. He’s expected to do the same on Thursday.
Dade faces headwinds as he prepares to take the reins of the troubled district. As CITY Newspaper reported last week, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and several local leaders have discussed plans for a state takeover of city schools. That plan would potentially remove the school board that hired Dade.
A takeover is being considered because of poor fiscal management, public spats among school leaders, and a long record of poor graduation rates and test scores among students. It’s not clear whether there’s enough support among state lawmakers to permit it.
Dade said his strengths would move the district forward whether the takeover happens or not.
“I believe that no matter who would be in that position would still have the confidence in me and my skill set to unite all of us as partners in this work to move the work forward,” said Dade. “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals with regards to what that might look like with a plan that has not been developed. Again, I’m going to stay absolutely focused on the mission of moving this district forward. And to provide that education for our kids here in Rochester.”
When asked if he’d spoken anyone with the state education department, Dade said he couldn’t recall everyone he had spoken with but said he has reached out to several people to start making connections. He also said that he has not yet met Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, who has been a vocal critic of the district in recent months.
Despite all of the district’s troubles, Dade says he’s focused on what he can control.
“I’ve made a strong, strong commitment to the families and the students here in Rochester to do what’s within my zone of control and that is looking at our laserlike focus on teaching and learning, our instructional programming and practices within our schools,” said Dade.
Dade said he hopes to engage local businesses, community partners and parents as he moves forward.
He said he’s signed a three-year contract with the district. He’s expected to start his new job on July 1.