LAST DAY IN SCHOOL BROWN VOWS NOT TO SECOND-GUESS SUCCESSOR

Brad Kelly Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B1

Date: Friday, June 30, 1989

After today, the only glimpse the Albany School District will get of Superintendent David Brown will be a glossy portrait displayed in a spacious office at the Joseph Henry Memorial Building.


"After tomorrow I'm out of it," Brown said Thursday, referring to his retirement which takes effect this afternoon. "Once I leave I will not return. I will offer no advice or comment. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback because God knows people have done it to me." Surprising words coming from a man who has spent nearly three decades in the school district and who is generally considered to have devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy to his work over the years.


But Brown, whose tireless leadership has also been a continuing source of controversy, said he knows when to call it quits.


Brown, 57, came to the district in 1963 as an Albany High School teacher. Two years later he was made an administrator and put in charge of establishing guidelines for state and federally funded programs.


Brown served as assistant superintendent for business between 1971 and 1975, during which time he brought the district into fiscal independence from City Hall while overseeing the closing of 10 city schools and the construction of the $17 million Albany High School and the $10 million Arbor Hill Elementary School.


He took on the added role of deputy to then- superintendent David Bray in 1975 and was appointed to the district's number one position seven years later.


Brown's tenure as superintendent has received mixed reviews among teachers, parents, and state administrators.


He has been credited with computerizing school records, forging closer ties with businesses, colleges and universities and implementing several new programs.


But critics have said Brown has been too slow in changing a troubled system. They cite declining teacher morale and a steadily rising dropout rate as just a few of the problems facing the district.


Brown acknowledges the criticism but is quick to defend his record.


"I don't ever want to imply I finished the job," Brown said, "but people have told me we've broken barriers they never thought could be broken."


Brown was referring to programs like the School and Business Alliance, which brings students at risk of dropping out together with adult mentors in the business community; and Effective Parenting for Children, where parents and teachers work to promote the self-esteem of teenage parents in the school system.


One of the most significant steps taken by school officials, Brown added, was the establishment last year of a Strategic Planning Committee responsible for drafting a master plan for the district. With the committee expected to issue wide ranging recommendations later this year, Brown said he feels the time has come to turn over the reins to someone else.


Deputy Superintendent John J. Bach, who takes over as interim superintendent, is among a handful of applicants in the running to succeed Brown.


Brown characterized his deputy as "a superior person and administrator" and said he thinks Bach is more than qualified to take charge of the district.


"He understands the school district, he understands the city and he understands the business," Brown said.


Brown said he likes to think he laid much of the necessary groundwork - computerizing school data, implementing school building improvement plans and hiring key administrators - to enable his successor to devote more time to educational issues and district policies.


When asked what personality he thinks the district has assumed under his leadership Brown replied, "I hope one of directness, one of heart and one of fairness."


When asked how he hoped to be remembered he said, "I don't need to be remembered. I just hope I've made it easier for someone else to do (the job) 10 times better."


Brown, who was paid $81,630 annually, said he has not made any plans for the future:


"My immediate plan is to get some rest."