We certainly set our sights high in District 109. And that is a very good thing. The attached Superintendent profile developed by HR consultant HYA is the result of online surveys and community forums and I think it captures the essential desired qualities of our next Superintendent. It's a tall order, no doubt, but you must have a benchmark to measure your potential candidates against. Here are a few items in the study that stood out to me:
-From a district strengths standpoint, parent involvement, financial resources, and dedicated teachers were consistent themes.
-From a district challenges standpoint, trust between stakeholder groups (board, admin, parents, teachers) was probably the most consistent theme with communication and facilities also frequently mentioned.
-For the next superintendent, the most important characteristic (65%) was "Listen to and effectively represent the interests and concerns of students, staff, parents, and community members." This ties in very well with strategic plan goal 4: "Partner with families and members of our community to foster a shared responsibility for educating our students."
-The 2nd most important characteristic (62%) was "Foster a positive professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators." This ties in very well with strategic plan goal 3: "Attract, retain, and support a superior staff by providing a positive, collaborative work environment."
These issues and themes should not be taking anyone by surprise. We've been talking about this stuff for over a year now. I think the consultant has a pretty good idea of where we're coming from. So now the next step is for them to analyze all the candidates who have applied and present 5 or 6 to the Board for interviews. They also have had good experiences with a confidential public interview process and the Board has agreed to adopt it. It was felt that a totally public "meet and greet" process would likely reduce the candidate pool because many people would not want their current employer knowing they have applied for another job. That's totally understandable. They recommended a committee of 8-12 community members that would agree to the following stipulations:
-They would commit to interview all finalists.
-They would agree that they would not rank, rate, or recommend candidates, but would give feedback on the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses to HYA.
-They would sign a confidentiality agreement that they would not disclose the names of any candidates before, during or after the process.
I don't know if we will hire someone that embodies all the characteristics we are looking for in a superintendent. Given the enormity of the expectations for this person, we probably will not. However, it is the BOE's job to ensure that the next superintendent has the qualities that have been identified as the most important to the community. This person must have a proven track record in those areas. We don't need to hire Superman or Wonder Woman. Captain America will do just fine.