Forum attendees discuss qualities for Champaign schools chief

Forum attendees discuss qualities for Champaign schools chief

CHAMPAIGN — Kaamilyah Abdullah-Span says Champaign's next school superintendent needs sharp financial skills.

"The superintendent needs the ability to manage a budget in tough financial times with a minimal impact on students," she said.

Samantha King says the school district needs a superintendent who can improve the Schools of Choice system.

"The next superintendent needs to look beyond the current Schools of Choice situation and come up with a better job of balancing the schools," she said.

Abdullah-Span and King were among nearly 50 people who turned out for a forum on Monday night on the qualities the next school superintendent should have. The program at Centennial High School was sponsored by the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana.

Kent F. Johansen, senior associate for district consultant School Exec Connect, said the forum is part of the process — along with surveys of the public and meetings with community groups — to developing a profile that will be used to screen candidates and suggest questions for the school board to use during interviews.

"We will try to build a profile for the kind of candidate you want us to look for," said Johansen.

He said the consulting firm has received 18 online applications so far for the superintendent position.

After it interviews 12 to 15 candidates from among those who apply, the firm will narrow the field to between five and seven candidates who will be interviewed by the school board in early November, he said.

The board will select three to four finalists to be interviewed by community groups that will provide feedback to the board. The board will choose one candidate and negotiate a contract.

The new superintendent would start work on July 1.

Champaign City Council member Will Kyles said he is looking for a superintendent with strong leadership skills.

"We'd like to see a superintendent who will push the learning environment conducive for students while allowing teachers to do their jobs," Kyles said.

Developing healthy students is a priority for Chantelle Walker of Champaign.

"I'd like one (a superintendent) with a strong focus on the health of students in the community in terms of the amount of physical activities they get every day in the schools and developing unique ways of incorporating physical activity in the learning environment," she said.

Katie Adams said it is important for the next superintendent to prepare today's children for tomorrow's world.

"We need somebody with a lot of foresight for the future, a person able to anticipate the changing needs of the work force," she said.

Charles Schultz of Champaign said he would love to see a superintendent who works to improve the kindergarten lottery "to make it a more enjoyable experience for the new families entering the system."

Heidi Harrell said the district needs a superintendent with experience in a market the size of Champaign.

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pattsi wrote on September 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

In case N-G readers have missed the posting of all Unit 4 salaries on the Independent Media Center web site go here to review them$file/Administrative%20Salaries%20and%20Benefits%20for%20%202011-2012.pdf

It is worth taking the time to do so to better understand why the cost is so high to administer Unit 4.