Superintendent finalist Bernard Taylor visits high school

Louie Goldsmith, Opinions Editor

Dr. Bernard Taylor, one of three finalists for the position of Superintendent, visited the high school on Monday, Feb. 22, to meet with students, teachers and administrators. Taylor’s visit was the first of three visits this week by the finalists chosen by the School Committee for the job of Superintendent.

Three English classes attended the F-block meeting, during which Taylor spoke about his professional experience and then answered questions from students in the audience.

Taylor began his career as principal of Weil Technology Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He then moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he held the position of Supervisor until he was promoted to Interim Superintendent when the sitting Superintendent left the district. Taylor served as Interim Superintendent and then as Superintendent for five and a half years.

Taylor said he left Kansas City to become the Superintendent in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he stayed for six years. Taylor left Grand Rapids in what he characterized as “a divorce.”

After leaving Grand Rapids, Taylor then became the Superintendent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He served as Superintendent for three years from 2012 until 2015.

During the meeting, Taylor spoke about his vision for the Brookline Public Schools. Taylor praised Brookline’s “concerted effort at equity,” and said he wants to create a district where “achievement is important, but where students are the most important.”

Approximately 90 students attended the meeting, and after hearing from Taylor, the students had the chance to ask Taylor questions about his past jobs and vision for the future.

Taylor said Brookline Public Schools will be a “better fit” for him than prior jobs he has held because of Brookline’s “commitment to excellence, public funding and ability to have honest conversations.”

Taylor acknowledged the importance of many issues facing the high school including the lack of space, tensions around race and large student workloads. Taylor said that solutions to these problems are already in the works, but no matter the issue, he “wants students to help lead.”

The two other candidates for Superintendent will visit the high school over the next two days, with Andrew Bott visiting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and Jon Sills coming on Wednesday, Feb. 24.