Wake County Schools

D.C. school official being considered for Wake schools chief

Posted December 22, 2010
Updated December 23, 2010

— A former U.S. Army officer and a leader in the Washington, D.C. school system is among the candidates being considered to take over the reins of the Wake County Public School System, according to a statement from his most recent employer.

Anthony Tata, a former brigadier general and author, currently serves as the chief operating officer for District of Columbia Public Schools, where he oversees purchasing, food service, technology and other support areas for the school system.

In a statement issued Thursday, a D.C. schools spokeswoman said: "Mr. Tata has been a part of DCPS’ executive cabinet since June 2009 and is a well-qualified candidate. His candidacy is a testament to the quality and talent of DCPS’ management team, and speaks to his wealth of experience."

According to his website, Tata retired in June 2009 after a 28-year military career that included service as a commander of a paratrooper battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

He is a 1981 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and also a graduate of The Catholic University of America and Harvard University.

Wake schools eye former Army general, DC school official Wake schools eye D.C. candidate for superintendent

The Wake County Board of Education, which has been searching for months for a replacement for former Superintendent Del Burns, is expected to meet Thursday afternoon in a closed meeting to talk about the search.

A public meeting notice issued Tuesday afternoon lists the sole agenda item for the 4:30 p.m. meeting as a “recommendation for administrative appointment.”

Although there’s been no indication, the timing of the meeting – right before Christmas – adds to public speculation that the board could be close to naming a new superintendent on Thursday.

Whoever gets the job will be the eighth superintendent of the Wake County school system and will take over at a time when North Carolina’s largest school district is facing high student enrollment, millions of dollars in funding cuts and challenges to a controversial student assignment proposal.

The school system says it is expecting a $70 million to $100 million budget shortfall due to a lack of county, state and federal funding. At the same time, officials expect an additional 4,100 students either enrolled in public schools or attending local charter schools.

Concerns about a neighborhood schools assignment policy have prompted federal officials to investigate whether students’ civil rights would be violated when the district moves away from its long-standing policy of busing students for socio-economic diversity.


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  • josephlawrence43 Dec 23, 2010

    We are not talking about someone who is going to be in a classroom all day, every day. We're talking about someone who can conduct the administrative/business end of the system in a cost effective manner. He can hire the necessary assistants with the needed educational background to handle the educational end of things. All of the budget shortfall problems are not a result of actions of the local school board--they come from the state. What is needed is someone who can handle the consequences of the states shortfalls.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Dec 23, 2010

    Yeah. Google "Queen Arlene Ackerman"
    and get back on that recommendation.

  • kteeters Dec 23, 2010

    What is a qualified candidate ?

    How about someone who has started (private) schools in the area.
    ( if you missed it, I meant Charter schools )

    With a new legislative body in town
    ..next year
    watch the new schools created
    ...with focus on 'EDUCATION'

    not school bd. members training police on crowd control.

  • andy2 Dec 23, 2010

    Who would I recommend? A list of qualified candidates who have held this position before in a successful school system for starters. This is a very good job make no mistake about it. If the board is willing to do the real work at hand and get the most qualified candidates. Unfortunately they do not seem to be able to agree what a qualified candidate would look like.

  • footballrocks177 Dec 23, 2010

    I am sure that people are saying that the man is not qualifie for the job. I don't think that he is either. An educator should be running the school system not just an outsider with no educational background. The teachers would prefer an person with an educational background just like the principal should have some classroom experience. If they do hire this man, maybe he can get some work done. The school board is sitting around doing nothing but creating more problems.

  • Justin T. Dec 23, 2010

    Whatever happens, I just hope nobody makes fun of his last name.

  • rhess2 Dec 23, 2010

    Anothny Tata's position as Chief Financial Office for the DC Public Schools may be a fit for that school system. It is riddled with problems and has been for many years. Bringing in a former brigadier general to handle the finances may have been necessary. I liken it to state governors calling in the National Guard to restore order. The school system in Wake Co. even with all the controversy coming from its Board in no way resembles the school system in DC. While it may be beneficial to put former military officers in administrative positions, it does not seem appropriate for running one of the top rated school systems in North Carolina.

  • blackdog Dec 23, 2010

    "In the end by not hiring a new superintendent with an education background the losers could well be Wake Co. students and parents."

    Yes, the students will suffer. But, ALL taxpayers will lose, because their tax money will go to private enterprise, not the education of all students. The only persons who know what they are doing, are the puppeteers. The Pope Company.

  • whistler411 Dec 23, 2010

    Someone posted that all posters here do not like Mr. Tata. I don't dislike the man. He clearly has had a distinguished career in the military and is most likely a very intelligent human being. But he simply is not qualified for the job. You can say "management-this" and "management-that", but you have to understand what it is you're managing. I want someone who understands what it means to be a teacher or principal and the intricacies of working in the public education system. For example, I would never want to work for a principal who has never been in the classroom. There would be certain aspects they simply would/could not understand. And I believe that would be a serious issue in this case as well.

  • blackdog Dec 23, 2010

    "So everyone here basically does not like this guy. Who would you all recomend? And the ones that talk about his lack of educational background. He is not going to be teaching math or science. He will be the administrator. He will be in charge of many people and functions. I think that is what his role as a Brig. General was. I would say that is good experience. I do not know him or know if he will be good or bad. I wish I had the ability to know the future like all these on this blog. Just like the ones that say community schools won't work. How do you know until you try it. The past hasn't worked."

    He is probably a fine person. But, he isn't qualified.