Online survey invites opinions on qualities for next Danville schools chief

Online survey invites opinions on qualities for next Danville schools chief

DANVILLE — Rene Quintana believes the next leader of Danville school district should be an effective communicator and a good listener.

"They need to be willing to listen if someone has a concern," said Quintana, the mother of a South View Middle School student.

"And we have a very diverse student" population, continued Quintana, who is Hispanic. "I think it would be nice to have (a superintendent) who reflects that diversity, someone (minority) students can look up to as a role model."

Richard Roth, a longtime resident who taught social studies at Danville High for 32 years, said the district needs a strong instructional leader who is knowledgeable on the best practices for maximizing student achievement and supporting teachers and staff.

"As the world, the economy and the political situation changes, we need someone who's not going to be caught up in the latest fad," he said. "We need someone with a very high level of professionalism who has experience as an educator and who has a long-term vision for the success of all of the children in our community."

And Doug Ireland, the parent of a Northeast Elementary Magnet School fourth-grader, said he'd like the new superintendent to be open to looking at expanding some of the things he attributes to the success of his son's school — such as its year-round calendar, health-and-wellness focus and mandatory parent involvement — at other schools, even throughout the district.

Parents and community members are invited to weigh in on the qualifications of the next superintendent through an online survey. The survey will be available on the district's website through Sept. 17.

SchoolExec Connect will use the information from the survey and focus-group discussions to create a superintendent's profile. The Highland Park firm launched the search for Superintendent Mark Denman's successor in mid-August.

As part of the process, consultants Kathy Robbins and Diane Robertson will conduct interviews with focus groups and open houses for community members and staff.

The forum for community members is from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and the one for staff is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Both will be held at North Ridge Middle School cafetorium, 1619 N. Jackson St.

The survey asks respondents to choose the top seven characteristics and/or skills they believe are most important for the next leader to have and what priorities the new chief should focus on.

In addition, respondents are asked to select the district's biggest strengths and what educational improvements are most needed in the areas of education and organization and management from provided lists.

Board President Bill Dobbles said the consultants will present the findings from the survey, the two forums and focus group discussions at the Sept. 24 board meeting. According to the search timeline, the consultants will accept applications through Oct. 17. Then they will interview promising candidates and present the top six to the board in a closed meeting on Oct. 29.

The board is scheduled to interview the six candidates on Nov. 7 and 8, and finalists on Nov. 17, 18 and possibly 19, depending on whether it selects two or three.

Dobbles said the board hopes to vote on whether to approve a contract with the new superintendent at its Dec. 19 meeting. That person would begin the job on July 1.

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