Residents get their say on next superintendent of schools
FAIRFIELD — With a series of public forums and an online survey, the Board of Education has been listening to town residents on what attributes they want the town’s next superintendent of schools to have.
Superintendent David Title, who announced in January that he plans to retire, will leave the job at the end of July.
Consultants hired by the school board to help with the superintendent search from the firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates this week gathered input from open forums with residents, as well as meeting with town officials.
One of the open forums early Tuesday evening, attended by only four people, provided the search firm with as much information as 40 people might have, said consultant Brad Draeger.
Draeger said the consultants asked those who attended the meetings three questions: What are the strengths of the school district; what are the challenges and issues facing the school district over the next three to five years; and what are the personal and professional qualities they want in a superintendent?
Those attending Tuesday’s session included two parents who teach in other school districts and a former Fairfield school teacher.
They indicated that improved communication between parents and school district officials would be key for the new superintendent.
Among Fairfield’s strengths, the group indicated, are a talented group of teachers, involved parents, a town that offers many activities for residents, and a strong public library system. The school district needs, they said, a leader who is creative and willing to think outside the box to deal with racial imbalance and possible redistricting, and who will be more visible around the schools.
Draeger said the comments gleaned from the sessions will be combined with the responses to an online survey to create a report for the Board of Education. That report will be presented to the board on May 25, at which point the search will begin.
“We’ve gotten 1,500 surveys already,” Draeger said of the online survey. “That’s an astronomical number. We’ve had an incredible response.”
The deadline to access the online survey is Monday.
The search for the new superintendent will be nationwide, according to the other consultant, Dwight Pfennig. “It limits your searchable pool right off the bat, otherwise,” he said.
Pfennig said while local officials sheck out possible superintendents, the job candidates will also be checking out the town. “They’ll watch your board meetings on TV,” he said.
Fairfield, they said, should prove attractive to prospective candidates. “There’s a strong history of support for the schools, and you won’t find that everywhere,” Pfennig said.