Integrity, transparency and communication skills were a few of the requirements for a new USD 231 district superintendent, according to McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, a consulting group hired by the board of education.
Results of the study were presented at the BOE’s March 7 meeting.
During the week of March 3 -4, 2022, consultant Dr. Judy Sclair-Stein, conducted meetings with district patrons representing six different groups associated with USD 231. These groups included: administrators, community and parents, support staff, students and teachers. The consultant received input from approximately 100 individuals in these groups.
Input was gathered regarding the selection of a new superintendent for the district and an executive summary of the major themes expressed by the participants was provided to the board at their March 7 meeting.
Four questions were asked of all participants:
Tell us the good things about your community.
-Pride of small-town feeling; tight-knit community; Supportive of school district; When there is a need, the community steps up; Wonderful schools; Safe community; Very engaged citizens; People moved to the community for the schools; Welcoming community ;§ Passionate people, sometimes intense; Everyone considers themselves a Blazer; Gardner is a community that offers a lot; We stick together; Very connected and involved; Growing community
Tell us the good things about your schools.
-Amazing staff that works hard; Value of community connection; Willingness to communicate with each other; Work very well and support each other; Dedicated teachers working hard every day; Many resources are available; Leaders are very inclusive of everyone in the buildings; Here for the kids; Strong identity; Excellent staff; Best schools; Take care of each other; Kids do not fall through the cracks; Great leaders in the buildings; Everyone is going to be a Blazer; Teachers go above and beyond; Teachers go out of their way to do something extra; Teachers make sure no student is left out; Beautiful schools and facilities; It’s not hard to get a bond to pass in Gardner Edgerton; We want to give our children the best and will do what it takes; Good students who take initiative; We band together; Teachers are amazing and students know they are loved; All staff step up and work towards the same goals; Warm, friendly, fantastic staff that works as a team; Everyone wants all the students and staff to succeed; Variety of options for students; Everyone is open to helping and learning from each other; Parent involvement is wonderful; Teachers are invested in each individual student; Opportunities to do things
What issues should the superintendent be aware of as he/she comes into the district?
-Relationship repairing will need to happen; Reestablishing trust; Making decisions based on what is best for kids will be critical; Guiding the Board of Education on their roles and responsibilities; Board members need to conduct themselves with integrity; In the past, decisions have been made based on the loudest voices which may have represented a very small minority of individuals; Important to listen to the stakeholders; Stand back and let people do their jobs; do not micromanage; Superintendent needs to listen and consider all information before making decisions; Involve those impacted, in the decision-making process; Treat people right; Healing will have to take place; Make decisions without emotions being involved; The district is growing; Bridge-building is necessary; Need to be a team-builder; Need a strong fiscal team; Staff need support; Communication is needed; Visionary; Bring everyone together; Be proactive in decision making; Know right from wrong and then take the “right” path; Be visible in the schools, not just to deliver bad news; Take initiative to figure out problems and to address and solve them; Staff live in fear that there will be repercussions for their input, decisions and actions; Be transparent with information shared; Be communicative; Be visible in buildings; staff are eager to see, get-to-know and interact with the superintendent; Be a cohesive, unifying leader; Problem solver, who is open and willing to listen; Board of Education is very active on Social Media; Plan for expansion and growth; Board needs to handle business in a professional manner; We cannot go through another scandal; Community has been through fractured times
-What skills, qualities or characteristics should the new superintendent possess to be successful here?
-High level of professionalism; Repair our reputation as a district; Be proud to be here; show up and be proud of the community; Gardner Edgerton needs to be a destination superintendency; Experience and expertise with Special Education; Great listener; Be visible; Collaborator; Good understanding of Gardner Edgerton’s past history and recent history; Bridge-builder; Honest and transparent; Strong fiscal background; Strong adherence to the law; Frequent visitor to the schools; Get to know staff and students; Not a micromanager; Experienced; Put the right people in their positions and empower them to do their job; Open communication and transparency; Servant leader; Active listener; Be available and accessible; Interact with people; Attend events in the community; Support teachers and staff; Proactive leader; Approachable; Be open to hearing different ideas; Plan for the future; Hold people accountable; Repair relationships; Trust your leaders to lead; Forward thinking; Proactive not reactive; Hardworking; Good character; And as stated so perfectly by the group of student stakeholders:
LOVE your job! Not for the money; Not for the position. Love your job and doing what you do for the KIDS! No other reason.