Wednesday the final night of superintendent search forums

Offer input at Huron High at 6:30 p.m.

From AAPSNews Service

A group of Skyline High School government students and several parents, shared their thoughts on Tuesday about what they would like to see in a new superintendent during a meeting with Ray & Associates, the search firm selected to assist the Ann Arbor Board of Education.

The students, all juniors, said they want a new school leader to be responsive, knowledgeable about issues and open to interacting directly with students and to changing policies.

One suggested a new superintendent might consider producing podcasts to communicate with students.

Bill Newman, executive director of Ray & Associates and a former school counselor and superintendent himself, quizzed and engaged the youthful group at a general forum at Skyline Tuesday night.

It was the second of three nights of public forums being sponsored by the consulting firm to gather information so they can create a profile of what type of candidate the next Ann Arbor superintendent should be.

Parents attending the forum said they would welcome a superintendent who would well fit into the Ann Arbor community. “I would like a bridge builder and consensus builder,” noted one. “Someone who is not toeing the line to the constituencies… Someone who is listening, but also leading.”

Newman asked those attending to fill out a 33-item survey, highlighting the top 10 qualities they would like to see in a superintendent. He explained the process, saying that the Ann Arbor Board of Education is expected to set a firm timetable on the search and set criteria for its new superintendent on Nov. 3.

Residents interested in participating in the discussion will have another opportunity on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Huron High School, 2727 Fuller Road, when a second forum for the general public is scheduled. If not able to attend, residents can also go online and take the survey.

The deadline for applicants interested in being considered as the next Ann Arbor superintendent will likely be at the end of January. Newman said that once a qualified group of candidates is brought forth for consideration, “the process moves quickly.” The school board has said it will have a candidate in place before the next school year, which begins July 1, 2011.

The new superintendent will replace Todd Roberts, who left the district earlier this month for an executive education post in North Carolina. Interim Superintendent Robert Allen, the district’s deputy superintendent for operations, is leading the district until a new superintendent has been hired and a transition accomplished.

Ray & Associates is a national firm with 140 associates across the country that will seek out qualified candidates once the school board approves a profile for a new superintendent, Newman added.

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