A lot has been going on in Unit 4 – this post will only scratch the surface. As many of you know, the BOE decided to go with School Exec Connect* for about $19,000. There is a lot of talk about collecting input from the community, as well as shaping a potential candidate’s profile based on feedback from the staff and Administration – I truly hope the Board follows-through on this. I have met with Sue Grey and I believe she is passionate about making that a reality. To that end, the Board has made public a PDF survey that you can print, fill out and send back to the Mellon Center. This is a preliminary survey that will (allegedly, hopefully) be followed by a more official survey from School Exec Connect. Nonetheless, I would encourage you to provide feedback to the BOE. I have strongly urged Ms. Grey to return the favor by posting “reverse feedback”, a summary of what the Board hears from the community and the staff. In fact, just today I asked for a current snapshot, not only of what they have heard, but what their own opinions are. I am hoping to get a response soon.
Why is this a big deal? This is a bonus opportunity for the school district in my opinion. Ms. Grey has made it clear that they want to hear from the community, and she is pursuing ways to make that happen. The Superintendent search will be an awesome test of that desire. So that is the first prize. The second is that with new leadership in administration, the school district can start progressing in a totally different direction. It is my sincere hope that with the two of these new golden opportunities, we can start the process of cementing the ties between the community and the school district.
So the big question remains, “What do you want in a superintendent?”
The school district has started a page for the search process, so far outlining the basic steps that need to happen and links to the aforementioned survey and an application to be on the search committee. I find it exciting that there is so much emphasis on soliciting community input, and like a little boy in a candy store, I have big eyes. I hope I am not being naive. It is a little disconcerting that there has not been much information put out about such community feedback collection efforts – all we have so far is a simply PDF that disappears into a black box. Ms. Grey assures me that they are indeed planning forums. Soon, hopefully. 🙂
On the outline, Section 2, Stage 1, Step 5 states “Develop job description incorporating community feedback”. To figure out what we as a community want in a Superintendent, and to set realistic expectations based on previous job descriptions, here is a link to the official section of the BOE Policies:
The language is a little vague and sometimes troubled with legalese, but if I had to boil it down, it would be something like “The School Chief and the Administrative team will conduct, direct, evaluate, make recommendations, research, develop and ultimately bear the ‘responsibility to account for success or failure of all phases of the educational program’.”
Section 315.01 also states “that the Superintendent be of good character and of unquestionable morals and integrity.” How do you take a candidate from a “national” search firm and judge whether or not they have “unquestionable morals”?
Anyway, I digress. This is our opportunity, let’s take advantage of it!
* I took a look at the School Exec Connect and Harvard, Young and Assoc websites; the latter seems much more mature and polished, while the former comes across as more personal – however, just about all the personnel pages are 404 Not Found errors. 😦 School Exec Connect also has a list of completed searches, and they have covered a good number of schools in Illinois. I encourage you to find a school district and ask around. 🙂
Update: June 8th WCIA Anne Dill interview with Sue Grey
Annoying sirens in the background. 🙂 Sue Grey does a great job inviting the community and emphasizing how much they want input. Looking forward to hear more information about those forums.