Tonight, while the SAU board was meeting in non-public to possibly decide a future superintendent, a passionate endorsement for music teacher Tony Dibartolomeo was sent to me. Written by Len Mullen, a Danville resident and former Timberlane Budget Committee member, it is intended to encourage readers to write the school board to consider Mr. Dibartolomeo as superintendent. I do not know Mr. Dibartolomeo and do not have an opinion about his suitability as a superintendent, nor do I agree with Len ‘s assessment of the two outside finalists, but I have reproduced Mr. Mullen’s own blog posting (with one small edit) so readers can form their own opinion and take action if they wish. Here it is.
Standard of Excellence
It’s not often that Timberlane and Excellence are uttered in the same breath. In fact, this only happens when people are talking about the music program. While Richard La Salle blamed unsupportive parents and uninspired students for his failure, Tony Dibartolomeo inspired the very same parents and the very same students to make beautiful music. He motivated parents, teachers, and students to be something La Salle could not — excellent.
The departure of Superintendent LaSalle created an opportunity for the school district to turn the page on a decade of failure. The school board, under a lot of pressure from parents, looked far and wide for a replacement for La Salle. They identified three. Any of the three finalists will be a suitable replacement for Richard La Salle. Any of the three can achieve the same things he did. If the goal of the the search was to find someone to preside over school board meetings, the search has been a success. A lot of school board members and SAU 55 employees set their sights no higher than this. They will celebrate the success of their search no matter which candidate is selected and they will wring their hands when this new superintendent fails to improve the school district.
The rest of us set our sights a lot higher. We hoped the school board would choose an excellent superintendent. We hoped they would hire a guy who could promise to make out school excellent — and mean it. We hoped they would hire Tony Dibartolomeo.
For those who do not know who Tony Dibartolomeo is, he is the Director of the Timberlane Music Program. He is known as Mr. D to people associated with the program. Mr. D is the person responsible for the excellent marching bands, concert bands, choruses, and orchestras we are all so proud of. He is the person responsible for the Timberlane students who are recognized for excellence at state and national competitions. He is the person who is responsible for the Performing Arts Center. Mr. D’s title is director and that is what he does. He hires and directs excellent employees who instill excellence in our kids.
Who would not want our kids to excel outside of the music program? How awesome would it be for TRSD math teachers to act and succeed like TRSD music teachers? Wouldn’t be great if your kid’s english teacher taught with the enthusiasm of Louise Pajak? Or the committment of Ken Clark? Or the dedication of John Mainella? I promise you no student music teacher has handed out a word search puzzle to the Wind Ensemble.
It would be a loss to remove Mr. D from the PAC, but I have no doubt he has an excellent successor ready to sustain the excellence of the program. As superintendent, I think we could count on Mr. D to do the same across the district.
This is a no brainer. Timberlane needs to promote it most successful leader to its most important position.
By Len Mullen, posted on DanvileDelivery.wordpress.com August 22, 2012