A consulting firm hired to help District 91 replace its superintendent completed a profile of the ideal candidate based on comments it received from school and community members.
Representatives from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd. presented their report to the board of education last Thursday after speaking with board members, parents, teachers, administrative staff, students, and community members in Forest Park.
Superintendent Randolph Tinder is retiring at the end of the current school year. A new hire is expected to be announced by the board in February, 2007.
Former D91 superintendent Art Jones is one of the consultants with the recruiting firm, and said he was pleased to see this level of outreach from the board.
“The meetings, invitations, profile assessment distribution and the online forms were great,” Jones said. “We feel very good about the opportunities the community had to participate.”
Jones and his colleague, Barbara Ramsey, also reported the responses from the community members would help give potential candidates more insight into the village. Jones said they understood the board wanted more residents to participate, but said a good sample was obtained nonetheless. Ramsey noted that while other governmental agencies in the village did not participate in meetings, this is not unusual.
“It’s important to give them the opportunity, but not unusual for them not to show up,” Ramsey said.
Board member Steve Johnsen said he was interested to see the other perspectives represented in the report, and that several of the issues raised were surprising to him.
While not a scientific sampling, the feedback from the community enabled the consultants to report what they heard as common and consistent themes in the community. One of the predominant themes mentioned both as a strength and a challenge to the district, was the Forest Park’s mix of urban and suburban environments.
Jones noted that different groups emphasized different concerns. Where teachers saw a need for more cohesiveness among the five schools, parents focused on discipline.
A list of desired characteristics for the potential candidates will be left in alphabetical order as opposed to ranking the items in order of importance. Among the qualities sought in a potential hire are the ability to recruit and retain personnel, experience in a community with a similar socioeconomic makeup, and a commitment to transparency in dealing with questions raised by district stakeholders.
Board member Catherine Denham remarked on the similarities between this list and the list compiled seven years ago during the last search that identified the current superintendent.
“Besides the emphasis on the diversity of the community, this is almost the same list,” Denham said.
The full report will be available on the district’s website at forestparkschools.org.