Hopefuls Begin Applying For Schools Superintendent Position

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Dwight Pfennig and Leroy Nunery, left to right, will help lead the Board of Education in its search for a new schools Superintendent.

The Board of Education’s search for a new schools Superintendent is barely underway, but “seven or eight” hopefuls have already submitted applications, the school board was told May 15.

Representatives from the board’s superintendent search firm, Hazard, Young & Attea Associates, sat with the board in a special meeting designed to help the company prepare a “leadership profile” of the type of candidate the board wanted to interview.

Over the next several weeks, the company will meet with a wide range of township residents, including teachers, municipal officials and community members at large to help create the profile, said HY&A’s Leroy Nunery. The company has already individually met with board members.

“We’re trying to make sure we open it up to every avenue possible,” Nunery told the board.

The profile, which Nunery said will be ready by June 17, in time for the board’s June 19 meeting, will be used by the board and the company to “match candidates for the superintendent’s position” with the board’s and community’s desires, said HY&A’s Dwight Pfennig.

Pfennig said they had not really looked at the handful of applications that have come in already because the profile has not yet been created.

But, he said, they would give board members a general breakdown of the type of candidates that are applying.

“As soon as the profile is approved by you, we can start looking at candidates,” Nunery said. “People are already raising their hands and saying, ‘we’re interested in Franklin Township.’ ”

“There are a lot of searches going on,” he said, “so there’s a lot of talent out there.”

The company will also use the results from an online survey (found here) to create the profile, Pfennig said. At the suggestion of board member Delvin Burton, the company will also put up a Spanish version of the survey.

During the May 15 meeting, the board was asked what it feels are the district’s strengths and weaknesses, and what its members would like to see in their new superintendent.

Among the strengths listed were the district’s diversity, the school system’s arts programs and the schools’ athletics programs.

Board members felt weaknesses included communication efforts, the district bot working “as a team,” and not having a strong vision for where the district should be heading.

Board members were also asked what traits they wanted to see in their new superintendent. Following is a breakdown of what they said:

  • Betty Whalen: Wants to be able to trust that what is said is what is meant, and that what she says is listened to, and not rejected out-of-hand. She wants a visionary, and someone who wants to be involved in the community.
  • Richard Arline: Someone who has pure honesty and integrity, practices effective listening, and has good interpersonal skill so they can react with everyone, regardless of which rung on the hierarchy they occupy.
  • Keisha Smith-Carrington: Someone who will be the visionary leader and innovator of the district, and will represent the district with integrity. Everyone needs to feel that they are being looked at by this person with respect.
  • Delvin Burton: The person must believe in our students and their potential, and is someone who understands the K-12 continuum. Someone who can think strategically and who understands change management. Someone who’s either an experienced superintendent, or who has worked as an assistant superintendent.
  • Eva Nagy: An experienced educator, someone who has already been a superintendent. Someone who is able to build a leadership team, not playing favorites, not playing politics.
  • Nancy LaCorte: This is too large a district for them to train someone in how to be a superintendent. Someone who understands they work for the entire school board, but they report to the entire community.
  • Christine Danielsen: Someone who has had recent experience as a superintendent, not one who has been out of the system for a number of years, because a lot has changed. Someone with a strong desire to leave the district in a better place then where they found it.
  • Julia Presley: A strong leader, a leader in everything the district needs to move forward. Someone who expects to be held accountable for what they do.

Pfennig said the board has “a real opportunity to make some real important changes” in the district. “This is an opportunity to have some new people doing different things.”

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