Mixed reviews on new superintendent from former district

Mixed reviews on new superintendent from former district »Play Video
Dr. Sheldon Berman

EUGENE, Ore. - By a unanimous vote, the Eugene 4J school board offered the job of superintendent to Dr. Sheldon Berman of Louisville, Ky.

Berman's time as the chief of the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville was not without controversy, much of it over a desegregation plan that prompted complaints from parents about long bus rides for students.

In November of last year, the school board in Kentucky voted not to renew Berman's contract.

The Parent-Teacher Association president in Louisville told KVAL News that, overall, Berman got a good reception in the school district but said she can't speak for all parents.

"It's a hard job to have to be a superintendent as I'm sure you're well aware of in Eugene," Myrdin Thompson told KVAL News. "No matter what the size of your school district, you know when things go right, everyone loves the person in charge, and when they don't, everyone gets frustrated at the person in charge."

Berman said the biggest misconception about him in Louisville is that he's the sole face of the bus plan.

"I wish I'd had the foresight to know how controversial that would have been," he said. "The wave that has moved across the country whether it's in county, boston or here it is everywhere the controversies around student assignments and neighborhood schools."

Richard Innes, an education analyst with a free market think tank in Kentucky, was critical of Berman.

"The major concern, and it also appeared in comments made by the Jefferson County Board of Education when they voted not to extend his contract, was that there needed to be more of a focus on academics," Innes said.

Berman will arrive in Eugene in April or May and start his new job on July 1.