'A superintendent who listens and responds'
The Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students honored recently fired Superintendent Julie Janssen today with an award named after two longtime education leaders in the black community.
"We've had good relationships with superintendents over the years. But ... none like we honor today," COQEBS President Watson Haynes told about 40 people in attendance before giving Janssen the Vyrle Davis-Adelle Jemison award. The award is "befitting a superintendent who listens and responds and acts on behalf of not only the community, but the children sitting in that classroom."
After a standing ovation and prolonged applause, Janssen spoke only briefly. "I promise I will continue to do my part in whatever role I can play," she said.
COQEBS leader Goliath Davis credited Janssen with reducing the black student discipline rate, moving the ball on two lawsuits involving black student achievement and for facing economic challenges "that no other superintendent had to face."
"When you were catapulted into this position ... you had litigation with two major suits that created nothing but adversity between the board and this community," Davis said. "We were able, in short order, because of your love of kids, to do things with you and your team that related to that litigation that will build a foundation that will lead this district for years to come ... That is something you should take pride in."
To the two school board members in attendance, Linda Lerner and Terry Krassner, Davis added, "Board members, we really really hope, as we move forward, that the vision (Janssen) had for preK, for vocational education, to college, to work and beyond, for all of our kids, remains intact."