Public tries suggestions for new superintendent
CENTREVILLE — Only six members of the public attended a forum on characteristics they wanted in a new superintendent for the Queen Anne’s Public Schools. But they were big on ideas. A consultant to the school district held a public forum on Wednesday, Oct. 5, and submitted three questions to two different groups — the public and the staff.
One question asked the participants to name three to five qualities, characteristics, and skills they would like to see in a new superintendent. The members from the public made many suggestions beyond what was asked.
Their top five were an innovative superintendent, strong instructional leader, effective communicator, proven track record of databased decisions, and personal integrity. But the group also wanted the superintendent to have a vision for the county and be grounded in inclusive education.
The group also wanted the superintendent to have a doctorate degree, experienced as a school based administrator such as a principal, and a collaborative leader with experience building teams.
L. Michelle Johnson of Ingleside said her favorites were effective communicator and instructional leader. She also talked about datadriven leadership as important.
“It goes with innovation, someone who is data-driven,” Johnson said. “There are certain instructional strategies that are proven and that are inclusive. An instructional leader [is needed] where true teaching and learning are going on in the classroom.”
Bryan Holocker of Centreville didn’t have a favorite on the list. “They were all well-thought-out characteristics. It would be hard to pick one from the others,” he said.
In answering another question, the group from the public also thought of challenges the new superintendent will face, including restoring confidence in the school district, working with non-educators, expectations of being available to the community, bringing unity back to the schools, fiscal restraints and the budget, and a workload that’s required and expected.
The group was also asked to list two or three things that make Queen Anne’s County a special place for the superintendent to work, live, and learn. Their list included the county being near the water, the county is rural, yet accessible to cities, a small town feel, the Board of Education’s office is accessible to students, staff and parents, and the county is a close-knit community.
The staff was asked the same questions. About nine staff members attended.
Officials from the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) took the answers the staff gave before the press could see them and wouldn’t release them.
MABE is helping with the search for the superintendent and conducted the forum.
Afterwards, Janet Pauls, interim assistant superintendent, commented about what she wants in a superintendent. She participated in answering the questions about the qualities the staff wanted in a superintendent.
“We really need someone who is going to be an integral part of the community and support diversity and continue the progress the district has made,” Pauls said.
The county’s Board of Education will use responses to the questions to shape their recruiting process for a new superintendent. The position of the superintendent for Queen Anne’s County Public Schools will be advertised starting in November with applications due by the end of January.
In February and March, applicants will be reviewed, ranked, and screened, with some candidates having an initial, standardized interview for the post.
Once the search has narrowed further, a smaller pool of candidates will have a second, more open-ended interview. After the second interview, there will be a few finalists, each of whom will spend a day in the district. Focus groups from within the school system and community will have the opportunity to meet with each finalist.
The board’s goal is to choose the top candidate for superintendent around April 1, and vote to appoint the chosen candidate. The new superintendent would start work on July 1, 2017.
Vera Wolski, paraprofessional at Stevensville Middle School and vice president of the Queen Anne’s County Education Association, left, and Stephanie MacKenzie, seventh grade teacher at Stevensville Middle School, attend an Oct. 5 forum on selecting a new superintendent.
L. Michelle Johnson of Ingleside, left, and Bryan Holocker of Centreville were among members of the public who attended a Wednesday, Oct 5, forum about the search for a new superintendent.