Open letter to Mayor Bowser Regarding Selection of New OSSE Head

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Dear Mayor Bowser,

CC: Deputy Mayor of Education Paul Kihn, Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember David Grosso

As State Superintendent for Education Hanseul Kang has transitioned from OSSE, DC Action for Children would like to express gratitude for her leadership and partnership over the nearly six years of her tenure. This moment offers a vital opportunity to find in Kang’s successor an expert in education policy who is well-equipped to lead the District’s education system through this unprecedented moment and the years of recovery that will follow it.

In light of the far-reaching impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children, families, and public education as a whole, this appointment will be the most significant in OSSE’s 13-year history. The next State Superintendent for Education must bring a depth of experience to the position, with particular expertise in building racially equitable systems via policy leadership and in soliciting, shepherding, and maximizing federal, local, and philanthropic resources. An effective State Superintendent for Education will bring insight into effective integration of systems, including education and care from birth to adulthood. The ideal leader will collaborate creatively with other government agencies, and with educators and families, and will understand the importance of and relationships between the areas under their purview, including education, public health, nutrition, and transportation.

To ensure that the candidate selected for this critical role possesses the strengths and perspectives needed to succeed, the District must include members of the education community in the hiring and decision-making process. Conducting listening sessions with parents, educators, and educational leaders will be invaluable. 

The District has had a history of including key organizations and community members in interview and selection panels. DC Action would welcome the opportunity to support the search for the next State Superintendent for Education in such a role. DC Action amplifies the voices of our partners in family support programs, early childhood education, PreK-12, and youth development. With the strong relationships we have built across the education continuum and our deep policy expertise, DC Action is well-positioned to bring insights and connections to key stakeholders to the selection process.

The next few years will be critical for OSSE, our educators, families, children, and youth. It's imperative that we take the time to find the right candidate to lead us through this turbulent period. We believe deep community engagement that aligns with our shared commitment to racial justice is key to ensuring that everyone feels confident in the road ahead. DC Action looks forward to working with you and others to ensure the search is a successful one. 

Respectfully,

Kimberly Perry
Executive Director
DC Action for Children