Friday, March 21, 2008
Single internal candidate applies for CCHS superintendent post
The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) is looking for a candidate to replace Superintendent Brenda Finn, who will retire at the end of the school year, and has decided to search first within the school community. One application was received by the March 17 deadline. The candidate is scheduled to be interviewed on May 1, and the RSC expects to reach a decision by May 8. If the candidate is not hired, a national search will be conducted next fall.
What characteristics are needed in the person who will next lead both the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) and the Concord K-8 school system? What issues will he or she face? Over the past month, the RSC sought faculty, administration and public input through several forums and an on-line community survey. At their March 11 meeting, James Hardy of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees reported on the comments gathered.
Hardy noted, “A central theme was a genuine sense of pride in the schools... People who live here come here for the schools.”
The report spelled out the characteristics and skills recommended for the next superintendent. He/she should be: a skillful, honest communicator, a unifying force between education stakeholders and local officials, a strong educational leader with a background in teaching and educational administration, a person of vision, a critical thinker, a confident decision maker, an intellectual leader, a good listener who can appreciate the value of individuals and be accessible and visible.
In addition, the new superintendent should empower the staff, allowing them to do their jobs, work in teams and make decisions that impact them, in site-based management style. “Staff want to help in resolving problems, not have the solutions dictated to them.” The report stated, “Teachers expressed a strong desire to be involved in the development of a vision for the schools and to be a part of taking the schools to a higher level.”
The report also noted, “The current administration has built credibility with the communities in regards to budget discussions. The next superintendent will need to build on this credibility and continue to work with town officials to maintain the good relationship.”
“High achievement is linked to curriculum… Curriculum integration and coordination must continue to be a high priority,” Hardy said.
Scheduling was noted in the report as a serious challenge and linked to the space limitations of the current high school building. Lack of space inhibits the school’s ability to expand the course offerings, and to meet the state mandate of 990 annual hours, and contributes to the lack of student lockers and lack of parking for staff and students, It also restricts AP course offerings and class preparation, since most classrooms are used every period.
Some participants noted that the culture of high expectations is leaving some students behind. The report stated, “While many acknowledged that the special education faculty and services serve students well, they strain under financial restriction and escalating costs. The new superintendent will need to build consensus through public discussion and credible budget forecasting.”
Several participants expressed concern over the search process, preferring a national search in parallel with the internal search.
Other participants surveyed felt staff morale was an issue and must be addressed by the new superintendent, noting that teachers wanted more say in the decision-making process within the schools.
According to Hardy’s report, there were between 100 and 150 people who attended the meetings, which were held in late February and early March. In addition, 193 responded to the on-line survey. Results are summarized on the left.
© 2008 The