Two consultants who are leading the Proviso High School District 209 superintendent search visited the Proviso Math and Science Academy Thursday.
The consultants conducted 10 focus groups as they attempt to complete a profile of the qualities that the new superintendent should possess.
Donald Gossett, one of the consultants, said that the focus group participants included parents, clergy, business people, community members, teachers, students, custodians, central office personnel, and security workers.
“We tried to get as broad a perspective as we could,” said Gossett. “We will develop a profile and then we’ll begin to review the applications against the profile.”
Gossett said his firm, the Bickert Group based in Deerfield, will probably call 10 to 12 candidates in for interviews and then present five or six candidates to the District 209 school board. He said he hopes to bring candidates to the board by early June.
“Our goal is to have someone on board here July 1, or as soon as possible thereafter,” said Gossett.
A variety of topics were brought up in the focus groups, the consultants said.
“There was a lot of passion to focus on student achievement,” said consultant Darrell Dick. Participants discussed the need for more Advanced Placement classes and some saw a need to update the curriculum, according to the consultants.
The consultants were at PMSA in the evening to meet with parents and community members, but only three people showed up including a Proviso East teacher and a school district administrator.
The low turnout, it seems, was due in part to a lack of publicity for the event. Notices were sent to media outlets three days before the event, and District 209 Communications Director Angela McDaniel said that notice was also posted on the district’s website.
McDaniel said she had not sent notice to parents of the meeting, acknowledging that it was largely planned at the last minute. She said the district might schedule another similar meeting in the coming weeks.
Representatives from the office of Chief Education Officer (CEO) Robert Libka, which McDaniel said was responsible for coordinating the meeting, did not return calls asking if any further effort had been made to publicize the meeting.
Libka, who was initially hired as interim superintendent last July but was moved to the new CEO job because he lacked certification to serve as superintendent, has indicated that he is hoping to be considered for the job, and has taken courses to attain the proper certification.