CHARLES CITY — Twenty-three men and three women have applied to be the Charles City School District’s next superintendent.
The School Board went into closed session to narrow the field Monday night at a special meeting at the North Iowa Area Community College building in Charles City.
The board’s timeline to hire the replacement for departing Superintendent Dr. Dan Cox called for selecting semi-finalists on Monday, finalizing screening interview questions on May 10, and on May 21 settling on a formal interview schedule.
Later, the board will also be choosing formal interview teams that will include “stakeholders,” such as school district staff, community members and parents, according to a presentation Monday by Trent Grundmeyer of Grundmeyer Leader Search, the search firm hired by the board.
Grundmeyer presented results of a community survey made available online to stakeholders. It garnered 308 responses, with 95 of those from parents. Its goal was to get feedback about the desired qualifications of a new superintendent.
The survey identified strengths of the district as having a caring and dedicated staff, innovative thinking, a supportive community, being welcoming of diversity, the sports and fine arts programs and the new middle school, Grundmeyer said.
Challenges and areas needing improvement included the state of the high school facilities; the need for more timely and consistent communication between schools and parents, the community and teachers; student expectations regarding discipline and academics; bullying; test scores; and declining enrollment.
Addressing poverty and embracing diversity were also among the concerns.
“Folk said things like … ‘We know there are families that are just surviving, so how can we address that and educate the kids when we know there are hardships at home. They get it,” Grundmeier said.
Grundmeyer acknowledged embracing diversity was also listed as a strength.
Ranked as the top professional attributes wanted in a superintendent were:
- Builds school and community relations
- Effectively manages district resources
- Visibility in the school district and community
- Ability to lead school improvement
- Strong instructional leadership.
School Board member Scott Dight interjected a “point of clarification” that those qualities are what survey responders want in the new superintendent. They are not necessarily saying those are lacking in the current one.
You can watch the board’s special meeting online at the Charles City Public Access Network website.