Coming to Birmingham from Madison — and from Green Bay, WI, before that — has been an adjustment for Nerad, he said, and not just because Birmingham is significantly smaller.
In Madison, Nerad and the school board there were mired in controversy, resulting in Nerad’s March announcement that he wouldn’t seek an extension of his contract, even though it didn’t expire until June 2013.
Nerad had served as Madison’s superintendent since 2008 and before that, was the superintendent in Green Bay, where he had moved up through the ranks, beginning his career as a school social worker.
“As much as I look at myself as a unifier, I don’t feel like I’ve necessarily been successful in doing that (in Madison),” Nerad said during his first interview with the school board in May.
However, Nerad said communities are what develop perceptions, and now that he’s in Birmingham, he’s dedicated to providing “child-centered” leadership, remaining transparent and adding value to programs already in place.
“There has to be a sense of trust (between a school district and a community),” Nerad said. “I think that exists here. Tensions can exist and it’s incumbent upon all of us to address those tensions and be available.”