School board sets superintendent search goal
The school board has tentatively set June 1 as the hire date for a new superintendent and July 1 as the date he/she should start so as to be a part of next year’s budget process.
Board member Jeanne Dozier said it is important to have a new superintendent hired by June, “so they can see the budget process because they are the ones that are going to have to make that budget work.”
The board also decided during its workshop Wednesday morning to use the services of Florida School Board Association, at a contract price not exceed $6,000, to find a new superintendent through a national search. The contract, which does not include travel, meals or reception expenses, will be finalized during next week’s board meeting.
The board also agreed that before they begin compiling a list of what the district is looking for in a new superintendent, they need to reach out to the community for input.
“For us to sit here and make up a list of characteristics and qualifications… we are setting ourselves up for criticism because the public will feel like they are left out,” Dozier said.
She went on to explain that hearing what the community wants will help the board develop specific characteristics and qualifications the district as a whole is seeking in a superintendent.
“We need to have the community’s input… everyone’s voices are critical” newly elected board member Don Armstrong said, adding “After all, we work with the community and that is their superintendent.”
To garner involvement from the community, the board decided to hold forums in each district. The forums were tentatively set during the workshop for the week of Jan. 18 at different high schools.
The district also will use surveys to seek information from the community concerning what key characteristics and requirements a new superintendent should possess. Board Chairman Tom Scott said electronic data is critically important for the survey process.
The tentative timeline established also included a Jan. 31 deadline for input, so the board can consider all the information from the community before taking the next step of choosing a superintendent, advertising the position.
Each board member also will select six people to serve on a volunteer selection committee of 30, total. The committee will serve as the community’s voice during the interview process for the new superintendent.
Names are to be delivered and discussed at the board meeting next week.
The board members all shared some of the things that they are looking for in a new superintendent at the beginning of the workshop.
Newly elected Board member Mary Fischer said she is looking for someone who is intelligent, has wonderful communication skills, has experience and who can grasp the responsibility in managing the staff and student population. She is seeking someone who has a feel for the entire picture.
Veteran Board member Jane Kuckel said it is important to hire someone who knows how to run a large corporation, who has a cross section of skills, along with someone who has wonderful people skills and knows how to connect with the community. The new superintendent should understand the district’s curriculum and understand how students learn, she said.
Armstrong said the superintendent should possess skills in teaching and business because the district is a large corporation.
“It is so important that we have someone that has been on both sides of the spectrum,” he said.
Dozier said she would like to see someone fill the position who has experience in a large school district, is familiar with the Florida law and is a very dynamic, sensitive individual who has a broad knowledge base.
Scott said he is looking for someone who has experience, not only with education but with business as well. He shared that he also wants someone who is not afraid of challenge and can offer more efficient and effective ways to get things done.
The new superintendent will fill the seat previously held Dr. James Browder, who resigned in September following the primary election.