Superintendent Multiplication As approximately 100 District of Columbia public-school students waited for Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Deputy Superintendent Elois Brooks to show up at a student forum last month, three assistant superintendents filibustered by recounting their life stories. The audience listened patiently as one bureaucrat after another detailed educational and career histories. The personal narratives were intended as teachable moments to reinforce the forum’s theme, “American Education—Our Dream—Our Hope for Tomorrow.” When the stories finally wound down, the kids turned their attention to more pragmatic affairs. The first student to approach the microphone asked, “Why are there so many superintendents?” Assistant Superintendent Ralph Neal hesitated a few moments. “Each of us has a particular role in helping [Ackerman] carry out her mission,” he answered.