I was asked to help interview candidates for our local school system's new administrator. I couldn't make Monday's interview; another member of the Tech Advisory Board attended Monday's interviews.
The interviews were conducted by the Supervisor of Curriculum and Technology, and were attended by one of the principals, and the person in charge of the computer classrooms in each school. There was a clear agenda for each candidate and the interviews went smoothly. I was impressed with the precision and efficiency with which the group worked. I only saw a handful of candidates today. Yes, there were the people not really qualified (and I'm surprised they were even given an interview;) and there were very qualified and talented individuals.
What surprised me (pleasantly) was a question by one of the principals. She asked the first candidate "How do you feel, and what do you know about Open Source?" I almost fell out of my chair. Mostly because it is a great question, and I was surprised it came from the principal. (The first candidate couldn't answer the question, the second had heard of it but didn't use it, and the third, well......wasn't even in the right ballpark.)
I'm glad to see the school looking in the Open Source direction. I know that there are state contracts and regulations, but I know that the school district has monetary constraints. Dropping OpenOffice.org onto desktops is a lot cheaper than spending for X number of dollars on MS Office. Getting kids exposed to an alternative environment, I believe, will help the kids when situations are not ideal or what they expect.
The next step is to recommend two names to the Board of Ed, and they take it from there. I may have to go to the next round of interviews, just so that there is someone with technology experience there as the interviewers will be the Superintendent, the other principal, and Board of Ed members.