Schools soon to name superintendent

Published 10:29 pm Monday, October 18, 2010

The School Board hopes to announce a new school superintendent at its Nov. 8 board meeting, Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said.

The board has been searching for a new superintendent since Dr. Milton Liverman announced his retirement effective July 1.

On Oct. 7, it announced it had narrowed its search to four candidates and would be conducting interviews within 15 days.

In its search for a new school superintendent, the board is considering about 75 comments submitted by the public through an online forum on the system’s website.

Strong leadership, teacher support, a desire for the community to excel and integrity are just a few of the qualities Suffolk citizens want to see in their next superintendent, judging from the comments.

More than 25 percent of the comments contain a specific recommendation that the next superintendent should come from outside the city. The last three superintendents were hired internally.

Many included in their comment that they want a “new vision,” “productive changes” or someone without the “good old boy” attitude.

Two commenters, however, argued in favor of internal promotions.

“We have great talent at SPS and we need to reward our star producers with opportunity,” one wrote.

“I don’t think an inside candidate prevents fresh ideas or stops change,” another added.

Other commenters stated that the board should consider someone who understands the community. Still others, however, think the successful candidate should have knowledge of other successful systems to help move Suffolk schools forward.

Another topic of interest expressed in the comments is the need for the new superintendent to understand the struggles Suffolk teachers face in their classrooms and to help boost morale.

“The candidate should be able to encourage staff to meet higher standards while remaining positive,” wrote one person. “Many staff members this past year at my children’s schools seemed very stressed, overwhelmed and negative. While talking to staff, it became clear the change in attitudes was due to increased demands without any positives for the staff, which in my opinion were doing an excellent job. A candidate that is more concerned with people, students and staff than SOL scores.”

To see all comments submitted to the School Board — or to leave your own — visit www.spsk12.net.