by TaLeiza Calloway
Intelligent. Culturally aware. Approachable. Transparent.
These are just some of the qualities parents and community members want to see in the next superintendent of St. Cloud Area School District 742. At least this is what they told officials from School Exec Connect, a superintendent search firm, on Dec. 18.
“We’re really looking for common threads in these sessions,” Greg Vandal said. “Diversity is a common thread that has come up in discussions.”
Some of the questions asked during input sessions Tuesday called on participants to list goals for the district in the next three years, the strengths and challenges of the district in achieving these goals and questions they would ask the candidates if possible.
“What is your relationship to people of color? How do you feel about immersion education? What are your thoughts on wellness beyond physical education? Those are some of the questions attendees told search committee members to consider asking candidates. They were also asked to share what they saw as the most important quality a new superintendent should have.
Lissa Staples of St. Cloud has twins who attend Madison Elementary School. She had hoped to see more parents at the meeting. She thinks an important characteristic in any candidate is intelligence.
“I feel intelligence encompasses everything,” Staples said. “They need to be a role model.”
Two community input sessions were held Tuesday. One drew a crowd of five people consisting of a former Stillwater School Board member, a St. Cloud State University professor and parents of students who attend schools within the district. A second community input session attracted three parents.
“We’ve had some good discussion,” Charles Kyte said.”There will be more opportunities for public input during the interview process.”
Kyte, who works for School Exec Connect, said the next step is taking the input and preparing a report for the school board. Those unable to attend either of the community input sessions are asked to fill out an online survey to share their thoughts. About 100 people have taken the survey so far. They expect between 300 and 500 by the end of the process, Kyte said. The survey can be found on the district’s website, www.isd742.org. Select “Superintendent Search” at the bottom of the webpage to complete the confidential online form. The deadline to submit it is Jan. 4.
Paper surveys are also available at any District 742 school. The position will be advertised and candidates will be recruited nationally through Feb. 12. On Feb. 19, the board and consultants will meet to review and select candidates to be initially interviewed. The board will interview five or six recommended candidates on Feb. 20 and 21. On Feb. 21, the board will narrow the field to two or three finalists. The next round of individual interviews will occur Feb. 25, 26 and 27 (if needed). Each candidate will be invited for an all-day interview process including open forums that will be available to staff, students and community members, and a final formal board interview.