Last week The Herald-Mail newspapers took a hard look at the recent past of Herman Bartlett Jr., the man hired to replace Wayne Gersen as superintendent of the Washington County school system.
The coverage, based on interviews with people Bartlett worked with in the Virginia school system, revealed an educator who's credited with improving test scores and introducing new technology to the classroom, but who also can come across as autocratic and inflexible.
Herald-Mail did those stories, not because our reporters and editors enjoy making anyone uncomfortable, but because this is not some visiting celebrity citizens are welcoming to the community. This is a man being paid with local tax dollars to lead this system and its students into the next century.
To his credit, Bartlett did not complain about our coverage, but asked only that he be judged on his accomplishments, rather than on someone's impressions of him. In past coverage in The Roanoke Times and in a two-hour session Friday with Herald-Mail editors, Bartlett admitted that when it comes to handling people, he's not perfect.