Broward Schools Leadership Doesn’t Need Advanced Degrees


Government education bureaucrats are obsessed with advanced college degrees.

Why else would the Broward system require an interim superintendent to have a masters’ degree?  This interim job is scheduled to last three months, some of it over the slower summer break.

When the only applicant who applied earlier this month didn’t have an advanced degree, the School Board decided to rebid the job without requiring a masters or doctorate.   It’s a smart move, but they may want to go farther.

In the last 50 or so years, advanced administrative degrees have sprung up like weeds in the front offices of our nation’s public schools.

Administrators have titles like Doctors of Education Leadership.  Many courses to obtain these degrees are offered online where universities’ brag they have “flexible curriculum choices”.

What does that mean?  Can you take the administration techniques of basket weaving?

Some of these bureaucrats take their degrees very seriously.  One school superintendent insisted on everybody calling him “doctor.” His staff of flunkies bristled every time I called him “mister.”  I believe, like most newspaper style books,  that only a physician was entitled to be called “doctor.”

We Paid For It

This trend towards advanced degrees was paid for by taxpayers.  Public schools subsidized employees’ education to obtain these administrative degrees.  Then the same employees got a bump in pay for putting a few letters after their names.

Did all these administrative degrees improve our public schools?

What the school system has sadly lacked is administrators with a knowledge of business. I would like to see somebody running our school system who has a solid business degree rather than a nebulous education leadership degree.

But do you need an advanced degree at all?

Experience trumps a degree any day.  Why has someone who has climbed up through the ranks and proven that they are a leader need a degree?

I don’t believe leadership can be taught.  I believe most good ones are natural born leaders. They can be taught some tricks of the trade, but most of their skills come from the gene pool.

Some are lucky enough to have another skill from birth – creativity.  Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Mary Kay Ash of the cosmetics fortune and hundreds of other successful, creative people have no college degrees….much less advanced degrees.

All of them think out of the box.  Thinking out of the box is another skill that isn’t regularly taught by a university.

But isn’t thinking out of the box just what we need more of in our schools?

14 Responses to “Broward Schools Leadership Doesn’t Need Advanced Degrees”

  1. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are not the people to tout when it comes to educational reform. They do not run the business end of their companies and their ideas on education reforms are tired retreads of NCLB and A+. A recent panel’s finding came out in Education Weekly (I believe) that pointed all the trends of educational reform have gotten no where.
    WHat Broward needs (IMO) is an Auditor, and a CFO that will hold people accountable for the decisions employees make with the school district’s money. There needs to accountablilty for senior managers who do not put measure in place that account for the money spent.

    The true business of education isn’t building schools but teaching our children knowledge and how to use it.

  2. S.O.B. says:

    in the past the SBBC has expended time and $$$, with “experimental” education reforms, Little Red SchoolHouse, Socratic, etc.lots of $$ and where did it get us??? SBBC has had a CEO/COO type of operation and what the Board did not like it ??? Where in any other operation of its size can one person run the business “education”, run the business “operations, have a budget of xx Billions run by a Principal [Superintendent] and the largest employee count in the County??? it seems to be designed to fail, and the Board blames it on ONE PERSON the former Principal now a Superintendent… Perhaps the Board need to look at the situation, and now is great time and position the bring in a business type to run the business end, and an educator to run the product part “Education”.

    But then what background or training does the Board have in running the largest business in the County with a multi-billion $ budget, 35,000 employees, X# Unions, 255,000 students, 275 buildings….got it , NON… or is that the problem???

  3. School Employee says:

    There is no relationship between quality leaders and college degrees. I’ve worked for “drs” at the KCWright who were barely literate. BTW, do the School Board members have masters?

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    You’re absolutely right. I hope the school board looks for a professional manager, first and foremost, who has demonstrated ability to lead large complex, multi-billion dollar organizations to succesful achievement of results.

    They need a CEO capable of shaking things up, getting teachers and professionals to believe in education again, and turn that place around. A change agent with a mind for finance, a heart of gold and an understanding of how to lead people to achieve goals.

    For sure, it should be someone more interested in being called Kathy or Bob than Doctor or Mister. A regular person capable of doing extraordinary things. That’s what they need. Degrees are a dime a dozen and what I’ve just described can’t be taught in college. You’re born that way.


  5. Kevin says:


    I resemble your statement about only physicians being called doctors.


    Herr Doktor Professor Kevin Hill, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., World Of Warcraft Level 63 Troll Mage.

  6. Bobb says:

    So Angelo is a Lady Gaga Fan! Or was he just born that way?

  7. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    Getting back to Buddy’s point on advanced degrees. I agree withyou, Mr. Nevins. Experience in the field is a far better indicator of leadership, and ability to do one’s job that an advanced degree.

  8. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Gaga — I get it now. Standard disclaimer applies: All comments made herein are original and any resemblance to those of real persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.

    Good one.


  9. Sherrie Sacharow says:

    If we fail to honor education for our education leaders, why would our students honor it? Mr Nevins you sound like Donald Trump- a wonderful entrepreneur but surely NOT an educator. Education is not business. Like health-care fails with a business model, so will education. Just as the Diagnosis Related Group did not mandate healing,- NCLB, RTTT fails our students. By racing to the top we leave the multitude at the bottom.
    Making Archie Bunker wisecracks about the qualifications for the leader of Broward’s schools will play well. It is the right response for the mob mentality screaming “off with their heads” to educators.
    But all we are doing in Florida is filling jail cells and drug rehabs.
    Our educational institutions are miles of trailers and excuses.
    Have you ever asked an educator what to do? Or what is needed?

    Angelo- you are right about the persona of the individual ( a persona you should recognize as your own), but, begging your pardon, the profile should definitely include credentials. Heart, certainly, savvy- of course, stamina, loyalty, lack of greed and political aspirations, managerial skill and track record, but most certainly…….Academic credentials. You won’t get teachers and others to “believe in education again” if your very premise is to deny its worth or application.
    I am surprised to see your point of view here.
    Mr. Nevins- how about visiting Florida Atlantic University or Florida International University right here in Broward and getting EDUCATED about what an ed leadership degree is- before you spend your column space. I know you’re interest is sincere, I hear the terse frustration in your tone, but you are simply killing the messenger- not even addressing the problem. Try reading Kozol, Savage Inequalities, read Ravitch, find out what the actual elements of the county’s issues are. Please.


    I very much appreciate your imput.

    Just to let you know, I have an education degree.

    My wife retired recently from the Broward School System after teaching for more than 30 years in at least six public schools. She is now a school administrator outside of the system. I hear every day from a professional educator what is needed. My views don’t necessarily reflect hers.

    Both my sons attended the Broward public schools.

  10. Sherrie Sacharow says:

    Your wife being an educator surprises me. You should reflect some cognizance of the intricate confluence of factors that are deteriorating our schools. Look at the clothing the students wear, ask students what they FEEL they will get from school. There are no jobs, not for the students and not for the parents. Many homes have lights off and are fighting just to have a roof at all.
    School has become day prison, it is irrelevant to success EVEN IN YOUR COLUMN.
    It is not the Education Leadership Doctorate you voiced umbrage at here sir…oh would that society’s issues could have such a simple solution.
    Education NEEDS an Ed Leader, Mr. Nevins, a strong, charismatic, competent, dedicated, visionary leader.
    I applaud your attention to education but I beg you, read some material from the writers I suggested, go to the schools themselves, then go to the universities. I am certain the Associate Deans or representative professors will sit with you and help you explore the matter fully.

    Education in its purest sense is hope embodied Mr. Nevins. Let’s not cheapen our hope.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    You make a strong point which I failed to make. Of course higher education is important, it sharpens the mind and imparts some skill. But it is no replacement for talent, integrity, heart, loyalty, leadership ability and soul. Those are the qualities that a CEO must possess.

    There’s a reason the letters we earn at universities come after our names and not before it. I’d much rather see someone without a PhD that knows how to lead become our as next superintendent. If they find one with a PhD all the better. Frankly, things being as they are there, I’d look for an MBA.

    Thanks for pointing our my omission.

    Angelo Castillo

  12. Sherrie Sacharow says:

    Point well taken to me – plenty of “Piled higher and deeper” experiences in my life as well. I know and trust the depth and breadth of your care for our community.
    Education is facing a dark night of disrespect and long time dissonance with the community at large.
    I share your concern, my hope is that our university colleges of education take the bulls by their proverbial horns and suggest paths of redemption and reconfiguration that work.
    I am glad you are there to guide our citizenry, as always you have my deepest respect and regard,

  13. Sherrie Sacharow says:

    from my prayers to this article……..

  14. Hammerhead says:

    I was just reading an article on Watching Broward, Marty Rubenstein’s rant and decided that he has lost touch with reality…again and again and again.

    This time he is trying, yet again, to sell Tom Lindner as a get it done guy who kicks ass and takes names.

    Let’s just rearrange those words, because in addition to being narcoleptic, Marty is dyslexic. So here we go…

    Tom Lindner “kisses” ass and “calls” names. He has no leadership abilities, he is just a mouthpiece for the (currently) shy lobbyists who used to overtly run the school board’s capital budget.

    Marty, what are these puppet masters paying you per blog? $50 to $100 bucks. You are blindly making statements about the guy’s ability while living outside the system. Surely you are getting your information from a spin-meister. I say that, cuz I know you “ain’t” one.

    As for needing educated people to run an “Educational” organization, I’d say that an education is required and mandatory questions regarding the state’s requirements for running such an organization. If you don’t know the requirements, then you’re not educated. A school district is run on one big grant and as all grants go, you must adhere to the rules and guidelines associated with the grant.

    Lindner can’t pay a contractor without some kind of problem or another…he should not lead children across the street, muchless spend a million bucks on behalf of the taxpayers and the children.

    Just a thought……………..