Former Mayor Norm Rice says he'd like to become chief of Seattle Public Schools, and he doesn't want to wait.
The schools' current superintendent, Raj Manhas, has said he intends to leave the post in August. And school board members say they intend to stage a national search for his replacement.
But in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Rice said he would like to be interim superintendent for about a year and a half — starting now. He said Manhas is already "a lame duck and doesn't have the full faith and confidence of the board. So what makes me more disruptive?"
Mayor Greg Nickels and some community leaders support Rice, but Manhas repeated he intends to stay until August.
"I will finish my contract, and we will continue to work and continue to do the things we have been doing," he told the paper on Friday.
School board member Cheryl Chow said members who met with Nickels a week ago told him they saw no need to appoint Rice temporarily.
"We have a superintendent who is doing really well," Chow said.
Rice said he's interested in the job in part because "we're starting to see divisions cropping up in the city over school closures, a shrillness and an inability to listen and the lack of a cohesive plan for where we go."
"I think what you want to do is create a visioning process that's designed to recapture the spirit and people's commitment to education, to develop a blueprint that is clear for everyone," he said.
Such a blueprint, Rice added, would help in recruiting a new superintendent. "What kind of person will come if there isn't a clear articulation of your goals, your objectives and the overarching purpose of what your district ought to be?" he asked.
It would also help, he said, in winning public support for $887 million in construction and operation levies that city voters will face in February.
— The Associated Press