Ann Arbor school board seeks superintendent with fortitude, relationship skills
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The Ann Arbor Board of Education has identified the set of qualities it is looking for in a new superintendent. And after Patricia Green's short-lived experience in the district, the board has emphasized an ability to handle criticism and to build personal relationships with the school community.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
Green's communication skills and level of transparency were points of contention throughout her tenure at the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She's been criticized for not being approachable or accessible to teachers and parents and for a perceived lack of commitment to the community.
The board developed a 14-item superintendent profile and set a timeline for hiring a new superintendent in a study session Wednesday evening, before its regular meeting, at which the district administration presented its recommended expenditure budget for the 2013-14 academic year. The board also set the next superintendent salary range at $180,000 to $220,000. Green makes $245,000.
The profile will be given to Ray & Associates, the search firm helping the district find a new leader. The profile is intended to attract interested candidates by presenting a clear picture of what the district values, so potential applicants can determine if the Ann Arbor Public Schools would be an appropriate fit for their personal values, goals and skills, President Deb Mexicotte said.
The board started with the profile it developed in 2010. But by the time it was done, the profile had been completely revamped with additional language, bullet points and specifics.
Among the qualities that were added were the ability to: serve as the face of the district, advocate for the district at all levels of government and maintain effectiveness in stressful financial periods. The board also specified that the superintendent should have a "visionary drive" and, when met with criticism, the superintendent should show a willingness to glean suggestions and ideas from others.
Mexicotte said she wants a leader with strong skills in the area of new media; someone who has experience working with media outlets as well as social media, she said, and perhaps has his or her own social media presence.
In addition to having skills in communication and trust and relationship building, the board stressed that the next leader must have a "desire" to do these things and an appreciation of their importance.
Applications for the superintendent's position will be due on May 30. The board will select its candidate frontrunners by June 12. Semifinalists will be identified by July 8 and the board will begin interviewing them that week.
Community interviews of the final three candidates will take place the week of July 15.
Between now and the end of May, the board intends to schedule more community dialogues, similar to the format that was used for public input and suggestions on the budget. Three Board of Education trustees led these dialogues, and the forums took place around the district and at various times of day to allow for a wide spectrum of participants.
Ray & Associates also will develop an online survey for soliciting feedback on what the community and district residents would like to see in their next superintendent.
Read the complete superintendent profile below.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools seeks a superintendent who:
- Inspires trust in all facets of the community, has high levels of self-confidence and optimism, and models high standards of integrity and personal performance.
- Possesses the leadership skills required to respond to the challenges presented by an ethnically and culturally diverse community containing a major university and other high tech institutions.
- Possesses the ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and closing or narrowing gaps in student achievement.
- Is a strong communicator: speaking, listening and writing; is the face of the district and presents a positive image of the district.
- Is strongly committed to a "student first" philosophy in all decisions.
- Possesses excellent people skills; enjoys coming to know personally parents, students, staff, board trustees and community members and their leaders.
- Maintains effectiveness and confidence in the face of criticism while gleaning helpful suggestions and ideas.
- Has knowledge of sound fiscal procedures and experience in the management of district resources in stressful periods.
- Has knowledge of emerging research and best practice in the area of curriculum/instructional design and practice.
- Has demonstrated strong leadership and management skills in previous positions.
- Appreciates the value of building consensus and commitment among individuals and groups and is able to do this.
- Advocates effectively for the district at all levels of government.
- Is a visionary leader who brings knowledge and expertise to the pragmatic implementation of the district's strategic plan.
- Has strong skills in internal and external communication skills with demonstrated experience in current media paradigms.