Polka, Walter S., and Peter R. Litchka. The Dark Side of Educational Leadership : Superintendents and the Professional Victim Syndrome, R&L Education. 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central.
“Steven negotiated a new contract with this new board and was able to regain his “power and authority” as the educational leader of the district, a position that he held for several more years and with some additional trials and tribulations, including changes in board politics, until his retirement, which was on his own terms. As he stated, “Even when the public resoundingly supports you as superintendent… you must always be vigilant regarding the political winds that change quickly given the political nature of boards of education and the ever present professional jealousy factor that abounds in medium sized school districts. Watch out for the Ides of March and those former allies who become like Brutus was to Caesar as a result of the mob mentality.” This is how two other superintendents described their emotions as their tenure in the district began to unravel: The signs were everywhere, yet I was too blind to see them—or too naive to think that this could actually be happening to me! In the beginning, I had a feeling what some of the board members were up to. But I did not dare say anything. I took the philosophy that maybe it would go away. But just the opposite happened: these board members became less discrete and more open with their abusive behavior toward me, especially during executive session. By the time I did say something, it was too late.”
The passage taken here is describing the sudden removal of superintendent Steven Rychert by a vote by the board of education at his school district. The removal was “mob-like” and totally out of Steven’s control. Dr. Rychert could be considered the most powerful figure in the school district, but instead was stripped of all his power in the blink of an eye.
The author refers to the Ides of March in a analogy to the murder of Caesar, by the hands of Brutus. The idea of Caesar’s fall is all about the theme of betrayal. So if someone reading this book on education sees the large act of betrayal here, they’d understand the reference to the Ides of March. The reference has a negative connotation to it, seeing as this betrayal was obvious, and the vulnerable are taken advantage of at the right moment.
“Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, 5 so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: “Thou, too, my son?””
This quote from the Cassius Dio is the climax of the story, where the murder takes place, and Caesar exclaims the famous words “Thou too my son?” or “Weren’t you my friend?”. This quote helps explain why the author used the reference to the Ides of March, as the Board of Ed can be seen as a Brutus to Steven’s Caesar. Though both are the most powerful, Brutus/BOE takes the power in their hands and demolishes the “king”.
Sean Reilly, Team Artemis