Thursday, June 16, 2011

We Might Luck Out

John G. McDaid:

I will miss the tremendous intelligence and energy (incoming Providence interim superintendent Susan) Lusi brought to the job (of Superintendent of Portsmouth School District) for these past few years. She stepped into a district in a fiscal quagmire, endured a Tent Meeting and Caruolo action, and managed the district into fiscal health. She made key hires that stabilized finances and facilities, among others. And she thought big: she created a local Basic Education Program when the state's was still incomplete, and on her own initiative, convened 100 members of the community to map out a strategic plan for the district. She fought -- and many of the budget sessions over the past years can only be characterized in such antagonistic terms -- for the students and the teachers, for the quality of Portsmouth's schools.

And she did it with a calm presence and grace under pressure that never cracked. If I had a staff of interns logging tape like the Daily Show, I would put together a montage of her saying, "With all due respect, Mr. Fitzmorris..."

Of course, I can't be objective. I began covering Portsmouth in September of 2006, and spent countless hours after meetings asking questions of Dr. Lusi. She was unfailingly helpful, patient, and candid. I worked with her on the Facilities Committee and the Future Search workshop. Throughout, I have found her to be a truly dedicated public servant and a fearless advocate for our kids.

Portsmouth is a better place because of her work, and we will miss her.

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