What kind of superintendent does Wichita need?
An online survey posted by the school district seeks to gather feedback from community members on the importance of more than two dozen characteristics and leadership qualities.
To take the anonymous survey, go to http://bit.ly/usd259superintendent. It will be open through Jan. 19.
Officials with the Kansas Association of School Boards, which developed the survey, will compile and summarize the results, and Wichita school board members will consider them as they develop a candidate profile for the next superintendent.
John Allison, superintendent since 2009, is leaving at the end of this school year to become superintendent of Olathe schools.
Board members voted Monday to seek public input, as well as to issue a request for proposals from professional search firms and to meet with an official from the Council of Great City Schools.
The six-question survey asks respondents to identify which characteristics from a list are their top, second, third and fourth priorities for a prospective superintendent in three categories – personal qualities, leadership qualities and identified experiences.
The list includes such items as “approachable,” “forward thinker,” “budgetary expert,” “previous superintendent experience” and “skilled communicator.”
Board members on Monday said they plan to pay particular attention to whether community members identify one item – “previous experience with your school district” – as a high priority. If they do, said board member Jeff Davis, that could signal the board to limit the scope of its search or to consider internal candidates more strongly than external ones.
In an e-mail to district employees Tuesday, board president Sheril Logan and vice president Barbara Fuller said the board will seek applications internally prior to considering an outside search.
“Individuals who have shared feedback thus far in the process have overwhelmingly suggested that we should look inside first, with the feeling that qualified candidates are among us currently,” the e-mail said. “Without question, our number one priority will be to select the best candidate for this important position.”
The online survey also asks respondents to list the “top two critical issues the next superintendent must understand about your district in order for them to have a successful start to their superintendency.”