Students React to Mark Freeman’s Career

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When the 2012-2013 schools year ends, so will 24 years of Shaker School District’s guidance under Superintendent Mark Freeman.

Many Shaker students know Freeman for his record when it comes to cancelling school. “In all honesty, I’ve always thought of the superintendent as just ‘the guy that calls the snow days,’” junior Shaun Roy said.

But many students are familiar with the long-time administrator and some of the impact he has had.

Senior Teja Kasturi thinks Freeman has done a good job and has had the best interest of Shaker at heart.

“I haven’t seen any real issues with Shaker as a whole in my time here, yet Freeman continues to push for advancing Shaker and its community,” he said.

Kasturi believes Freeman worked to continuously improve the schools.

“I’d assume he has had some role in the implementation of [the International Baccalaureate program], but that just shows his commitment to serving our schools and pushing our community to the next level,” he said, “He’s been a strong advocate for the Student Group on Race Relations, among other programs throughout the high school, which have helped make Shaker a model community and school system.”

Kasturi said that he wants the next superintendent to be “someone who’s able to continue the Shaker tradition of academic excellence and diversity in religion, race, ethnicity and thought.”

“I think that Shaker’s a very liberal and accepting community, and anyone who’s able to champion those ideals is a good superintendent in my book,” he said.

Some students are looking for some new qualities in the new superintendent.

“I’d like to see some changes in science and technology,” said Roy, president of the Science Olympiad team. “I feel that as a district, improvements in technology education will aid students in the 21st century.”

Junior Yixuan Wang would like to see the new superintendent promote more transparency and sharing information with the students.

“I think that it might make a refreshing change if they were to actually address the students of the school district that they are superintending more often,” Wang said. “It wouldn’t necessarily have to be something incredibly formal or motivational, but maybe a short speech or conversation session where they tell us what they’re planning for the year and we have the chance to ask any questions we might have.”

Sophomore Bess Aronoff said she would like Freeman’s successor to be, “someone who understands how important the school district is to Shaker.”

Sophomore Ben Robertson would like the next superintendent to be “a good leader and in touch with the needs of students as well as the interests and concerns of both parents and teachers.”

In the end though, the main issue for some students, is of course, snow days.

“The general consensus when he announced he was stepping down was ‘Hooray, more snow days!’ ” Roy said.

Aronoff said she wants the next superintendent to be someone who will “call off school before pretty much every other school in Cleveland does.”

Kasturi said he thinks Freeman’s commitment to education is evident in his approach to inclement weather. “Obviously, he could have been more liberal with the snow days,” said Kasturi, “but in a way, his reluctance to give them shows that he truly cares about making our education count.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 13 December 2012, on page 3 of the Shakerite.

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