Archived Story

BOE kicks off search for leader

Published 11:27am Saturday, January 12, 2013

Community members will soon have the chance to share their opinions on qualities needed in the next superintendent for the Alexander City Schools.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 14, the Alabama Association of School Boards will have a survey posted on the city schools’ website, alex.k12.al.us, regarding superintendent selection. The survey will be completely anonymous.

“This survey is designed to give the community an opportunity to weigh in on the superintendent search and share with the board what the community and employees think the board needs to look for in their next leader,” said Susan Salter, director of leadership development for the AASB.

Alexander City Board of Education President David Sturdivant said the survey is the first in a series of community feedback events.

“We’re trying to get as much general feedback as we can from the community,” Sturdivant said.

Salter said questions included whether the next superintendent needed to have experience as a superintendent or school administrator or whether the next leader should come from a non-education background.

“Also as part of this, we ask what are going to be the frontrunner issues the next superintendent will have to deal with in his or her tenure,” Salter added.

The online survey will be posted until Sunday, Jan. 27.

The AASB will also be seeking feedback from the community in person at a series of community engagement meetings Jan. 22.

Meetings will be held in the board room of the Alexander City Board of Education at 375 Lee Street as follows:

- Meeting for school and system administrators, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.

- Meeting for public officials, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

- Meeting for certified staff, 4:15-5:15 p.m.

- Meeting for support staff, 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.

- Meeting for the community, 7 – 8 p.m.

Salter said she encouraged as many people as possible to attend the community meeting and share their concerns and thoughts about the next leader for the Alexander City Schools.

“Issues may bubble up that the board may not be aware are percolating,” Salter said. “It’s a good opportunity for the board to understand what matters in the community in the search process while still keeping the search process for choosing a new leader manageable.”

Salter said board members will not be present at any of the community engagement meetings, and there will be no sign-in sheet so people in attendance can remain anonymous if they so choose.

“We specifically ask the board not to attend the engagement meetings, primarily so those who do attend will feel comfortable sharing ideas or thoughts on the system and where it is,” Salter said. “These meetings usually don’t generate a lot of negative comments, but you always have folks who are reluctant to speak up for fear what they say might be misinterpreted. It’s not a reflection on the board – it’s our standard way of doing these things so our conversations will be open.”

Sturdivant said the AASB will compile the anonymous comments from the surveys and meetings and present general trends to the board at a later date. He strongly encouraged participation in both events.

“The purpose of all this is to help us as a board determine the type of candidates we’re looking for and narrow that down on the front end as far as qualities and characteristics of the new superintendent and the needs of the system,” Sturdivant said. “We want to encourage as much participation in the online survey as well as the community engagement meetings. The more people who attend, the better feel we will get from the community.”

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