action, taken at an 11-minute special meeting on Mar. 14, was anticlimactic.
In sharp contrast with previous sessions involving the
superintendency, no one not associated with the media, the
district or the selection process was in attendance.
board member, except student representative Lauren Mineo, read a
brief prepared statement endorsing Harter before the vote. David
Moore, principal of Forwood Elementary School and a member of
the community search committee which recommended Harter's
appointment, said after the vote that the selection process was
"by far the most thorough of anything I've been associated
with" during a 35-year career in education.
52, is superintendent of the Lee County School District in Fort
Myers, Fla. He is expected to take the Brandywine position no
later than July 1, the start of the next fiscal and academic
undetermined is any future relationship of Victoria Gehrt with
the district. She has been interim superintendent since last
October and is under contract through August.
Nancy Doorey said that she expects the transition from Gehrt's
administration to Harter's to proceed smoothly and that he will
"build on [her] work, not replace it." But Doorey then
added, "We will miss her greatly come September."
said he is appreciative of "the healing she has brought to
the district in a very short time." Gehrt was hired in the
wake of the turmoil surrounding the ouster of former
superintendent Joseph DeJohn.
told Delaforum that she has not yet made a decision concerning
her professional future.
appointment was a virtual certainty after a board delegation
returned from a reference-checking visit to Florida and reported
favorably on its findings at a closed-door executive session on
Mar. 10. As Delaforum reported previously, the consensus emerging
from conversations with some of the participants after that
session was that he would be offered the job.
statement, Doorey said of the Florida visit, "From the
large majority of administrators who worked with Dr. Harter, we
hard that he is the most outstanding superintendent they have
ever worked for."
member David Adkins, who also was with the delegation, said that
he was satisfied Harter responded appropriately to a controversy
over meeting fire-code standards. "Achieving high standards
requires risk taking with inevitable breakdowns. Rather than
ignore or cover up problems, Dr. Harter confronts them
openly," Adkins said.
no discussion concerning the path forward to an employment
contract. As previously reported, the board established $125,000
as the bid salary for the position. That is about $10,000 more
than he is earning in Florida. As Delaforum previously
reported, the board is thinking in terms of an initial
told Delaforum he did not anticipate any difficulty reaching
agreement on a contract.
his family is excited about the prospect of moving to Delaware.
His wife, Lee Anna Hedges is a consultant in business leadership
development and is involved in mediation with teenagers. His
daughter, Kyla is a sixth-grader who is active in band and
"very oriented toward the visual arts." The Harters
also have an adult son, Dan, who operates a remodeling business
in Anchorage, Alas., and a daughter, Susie, a sophomore at the
University of Michigan studying for a career in education.
said he will devote time between now and taking his new position
to learning about the state, district and community but added
that he does not intend to become directly involved. "While
I certainly want to be informed, I'm not in a position to make
decisions or get involved in specific projects until I actually
state my employment in Brandywine."
he added, "my current job in Lee County takes up 70 to 80
hours a week and I have no intention of slowing down or backing
away until the end of the day on my last day here."
praised Gehrt for having "done a remarkable job in brining
key staff and community members together to initiate and
complete ... the 25 goals the Brandywine board has set for this