Board considers superintendent qualifications

Published on Thu, Dec 19, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Board considers superintendent qualifications

By Meg Olson

In refining what they’re looking for in a new superintendent, Blaine school district board members are mulling over what Blaine schools are all about.
“Do these four pages reflect that we make our decisions putting kids’ needs first?” asked school board chair Jane Woods.

At a December 16 work session the board reviewed material prepared by consultant John Fotheringham to recruit a superintendent to replace Gordon Dolman, who will retire at the end of the school year.

Fotheringham drew together suggestions from staff, parents and community members about the qualities they thought the new superintendent would need as well as the challenges he would face. Along with descriptions of the community and the schools it will be part of a brochure to be mailed to potential candidates in early January. Dolman added the list of qualifications would also be a guide for the board in the interview process, which is scheduled to begin in March. “It gives you a broad spectrum from which to draw questions,” he said.

Qualities sought in a new superintendent include strong leadership skills, a cooperative approach to problems, approachability, fiscal responsibility, and accountability. “We don’t just want a desire to be accountable, we don’t just want a willingness, we want them to have shown they have been and will be personally accountable,” Woods said.

Board members are also looking for someone with a sense of humor. Woods said a good test in an interview would be to ask a candidate how they would respond to the prank by graduating seniors who put a Volkswagon on the roof several years ago. “If the person has a little grin we’re O.K. but if they say they’ll kick them all out of school…” she shook her head.

Woods said the new superintendent would not be challenged by problems within the schools but by the need to continue with the vision and growth Dolman began. “We want someone who can continue to be a visionary but we want to acknowledge we already have a vision,” she said.

Dolman suggested including the district’s strategic plan in materials sent to candidates and emphasizing the need for growth.

“You want a unique leader to take you to the next level,” Dolman said. “If you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse.”..

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