Public making huge demands for outgoing Byrne’s replacement
Community High School District 218 is looking for a candidate to achieve the impossible in its superintendent search.
The district has turned to the public for qualities it is looking for the new superintendent after three community meetings were recently held. There is a high list of demands by the public and consultant Margaret Longo stated the new superintendent better be able to “walk on water.”
After eight years, District 218 Superintendent John Byrne is leaving his position at the end of the school year and officials hope to name his successor in February. The district and PROACT Search reached out to teachers, parents, government officials and many others while conducting a list of positive qualities and discussing obstacles they anticipate the superintendent to have.
"The Board of Education is committed to finding a talented leader for Community High School District 218 and wants community input to ensure broad based stakeholder engagement in the process," said Longo, senior consultant for PROACT Search at Monday night’s board of education meeting.
Longo organized opportunities for community members to participate in with three public forums as well as gathering information from an online survey. With 18.8 percent of parents’ responses, Longo noted the majority of feedback came from school and faculty advisors.
“The community has stressed ten common traits they would like to see in the next superintendent,” Longo said, “One of the most important qualities is developing and maintaining strong relationships in a diversified community. There are very different schools in the district, made up of all different kinds of children and families. Diversity and culture collaboration were stressed heavily in the superintendent process.”
Aside from understanding diversity, some of the other characteristics listed in her Community Engagement Summary were: strong moral character, effective communication skills, humility as a leader, being able to create a culture of ethics, recruiting and retaining a team of strong leaders, strong strategic planning, delivering strong curriculum, knowledge and the ability to make instructional decisions and work experience in a similar district.
“These are just the top ten characteristics that kept reoccurring during the discussion in what community members expect from their next superintendent,” Longo said.
A concern brought up by parents was the superintendent’s availability.
“A lot of parents work conflicting hours with a typical school day,” she added, “They want to make sure the superintendent is available to be contacted, is present at parent/teacher meetings and involved with the community.”
Another concern discussed by parents is the district’s relation with Moraine Valley Community College and preparation steps being taken to ease student’s transition into college.
“The community was very grateful the board reached out to them for their personal opinions during the search for a new superintendent,” Longo said.
The board of education will be conducting rolling interviews all throughout the month of December with a candidate hoping to be selected by the second week of January. Since word has spread about the position, the board has received 65 inquiries and 11 completed applications. During the interview process, applicants will also receive criminal and financial background checks.
The process is a long one but taking the time to go through each step thoroughly is of utmost importance, Longo said.
“We will definitely have a decision by February,” Marco Corsi, president of CHSD 218 school board, said.