Steven J. Adamowski, the leading contender for Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent, won the NAACP's support Tuesday, but another community group joined the opposition.
Adamowski The Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Cincinnati voted Tuesday to support CPS assistant superintendent Rosa Blackwell as the choice to head the 48,000-student district.
If Mrs. Blackwell is hired, she would work as a team with CPS assistant superintendent Kathleen Ware and Michael Strembitsky, former superintendent of schools in Edmonton, Alberta.
The candidacy of Dr. Adamowski, associate secretary of education at the Delaware Department of Education, drew objections Monday from Parents for Public Schools and the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati. Both groups said he doesn't have enough urban experience. But that argument was rejected by Milton Hinton, Cincinnati chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
While the districts Dr. Adamowski has headed have been small, some had the same problems that trouble Cincinnati, Mr. Hinton said. Dr. Adamowski was superintendent at Clayton Schools in St. Louis; Norwich Schools in Norwich, Conn.; and Chatham Schools in Chatham, N.J. Each of those mostly white districts has fewer than 4,000 students.
"We tend to think to think of Connecticut as an uppity-doo suburb of New York City, but the city of Norwich is a distressed municipality," Mr. Hinton said Tuesday. "The schools have the same goals of reducing teen pregnancy, substance abuse and dropout rates that Cincinnati does."
One-quarter of Clayton's students attend school under a voluntary desegregation order, he added. The NAACP recently reopened its 24-year-old desegregation lawsuit against CPS, saying low test scores and high suspension and expulsion rates prove a lack of commitment to desegregation.
Mr. Hinton said that Dr. Adamowski also has all the qualities the NAACP sought: a doctorate and other studies in school administration, experience with poor and minority children and a record of reform. School board members will meet today to discuss hiring Dr. Adamowski. A vote is expected at the board's May 26 public meeting.
Contract length and salary haven't been decided.
Dr. Adamowski was one of three finalists. The others were Mrs. Blackwell and Anthony Alvarado, superintendent of Community School District 2, New York City Public Schools.
Dr. Adamowski also has been a senior fellow and deputy director of the Hudson Institute's Modern Red Schoolhouse project, where he helped schools restructure to improve student achievement. He has teaching and administrative experience in Connecticut and Maine.
CPS Superintendent J. Michael Brandt will retire in July.