FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Fayetteville Public Schools are one step closer to choosing its next leader. Saturday, during a board of education meeting, the district dwindled its nearly 6-month search for a superintendent to just 6 candidates.
Since August, the district has been searching for its next superintendent, after its current one, Dr. John L. Colbert announced he would retire at the end of this school year.
"55 individuals expressed interest," said Dr. Brenda Dietrich, an associate with Gary Ray Recruiting.
Although the search started with around 55 people, it dropped to 28 people this month.
"We're in the home stretch now of finding you're next superintendent," Dietrich said. "And I think we have a great pool of candidates."
The candidates are from Georgia, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, New Mexico, Michigan, Washington, Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Utah, New Jersey, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Through a survey, the community, from teachers, staff, parents and principals were involved in having a say in what they would like to see with the next superintendent.
"The main thing they want is a superintendent who prioritizes academics. That's what we do as a school district," said Fayetteville Schools Board of Education President, Nika Waitsman. "They want a superintendent who can take us to the next level."
For nearly 4 hours the board went into an executive session. Ranking the candidates based off of a score chart. Some of the qualifying factors the board of education looked at include:
- Has demonstrated strong leadership skills in previous positions.
- Provides sustained, systemic, and evidence-based interventions to obtain equitable access to learning opportunities and create healthy learning environments for ALL students.
- Is an energetic and engaged leader who possesses excellent people skills with an ability to gather input and make decisions that put “students first”.
- A visionary who sets clear goals for quality education, with an emphasis on both college and career readiness, and persists in achieving them with a focus on growth.
- Promotes academic rigor for optimum student success.
- Is able to lead a large organization dedicated to goals of continuous improvement and can make strategic decisions with a “big picture” lens.
- Inspires trust and models high standards of integrity and ethical behavior in all aspects of district leadership.
- Promotes a positive and professional environment for district employees and the Board and is able to build consensus and commitment among individuals and groups.
- Is an effective and open communicator, with strong listening skills, creating positive school and community relations.
- Has the ability to identify/select a strong diverse team of administrators from internal and external sources who are capable of advancing the district vision and focused on success for all.
"That consensus matrix is just a way for them to individually have a voice on which candidates they thought was the best match," said Dietrich.
The Board of Education identified the following 6 individuals for the first round of interviews:
- Dr. Marie Feagins - Chief of Leadership Development & High Schools, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District, Detroit, MI.
- Dr. Keith McGee - Superintendent of Schools, Helena-West Helena School District, Helena-West Helena, AR.
- Dr. Jonathan - Mulford Deputy Superintendent - Operations, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MO.
- Dr. Jeannine Porter - Chief of Marketing, Communications & Strategic Initiatives, Irving Independent School District, Irving, TX.
- Dr. Anthony Rossetti - Superintendent of Schools, Webb City R-7 School District, Webb City, MO.
- Dr. Brad Swofford - Superintendent, Branson R-IV School District, Branson, MO.
"We're very excited about the pool of applicants," Dietrich said. "We think the that the process has worked really well for the district."
The first round of interviews will take place during the week of February 6. A second round of interviews will take place during the week of February 13 for a narrowed field of candidates. The School Board plans to select a superintendent after the second round of interviews.
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