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Citizens have say in superintendent search

Suffolk Public Schools wants to hear residents’ opinions on what they’re looking for in a new superintendent.

A public input session has been scheduled in Council Chambers, 441 Market St., for 7 p.m. July 8 in which the board will listen to the priorities, background, goals and other traits that others feel they should take into consideration during the interview process.

“We will listen to what the public has to say and incorporate it into our interviewing questions and the opinions we form on candidates,” said Lorraine Skeeter, chairwoman of the School Board. “We work in the public education system and want public opinion. We want to hear from those who are directly affected by our decisions.”

The original public input session was scheduled for 5 p.m., before the regular 7 p.m. School Board meeting, but because it “was not amenable to the schedules of working citizens,” according to schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw, the meeting was switched to 7 p.m.

The normal School Board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. instead.

“The School Board recognizes that the superintendent serves the citizens of Suffolk, not just the seven members of the board,” Bradshaw said in an email. “Therefore, the board is asking the entire community to voice their input on what qualities, skills, experience, characteristics and personal traits the new superintendent should possess…”

Skeeter said that a public input session was held during the last superintendent search, as well.

“We want to understand the priorities of the people,” Skeeter said. “We found when we get the input of the citizens, it helps us determine our actions.”

The board is encouraging students of all ages, parents, grandparents, business leaders, government officials, long-time residents, newcomers and all taxpayers to share their opinions.

For those unable to attend, there is a form on the division’s website at www.spsk12.net. All online comments will be compiled and forwarded to members of the board.