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Search process solid

The Suffolk School Board decided earlier this month it would let the Virginia School Boards Association take the reins for part of the upcoming search for a new superintendent.

With Dr. Deran Whitney retiring Sept. 1, the current School Board has one of the most important duties with which elected officials in Virginia are entrusted — hiring the person who will guide our (currently) 14,265-student, 2,000-employee division into the future.

And while some taxpayers might be disgruntled at the idea of the School Board not conducting the search entirely on its own, it’s actually a good idea for a mostly rookie board.

Four members of the board have been on it less than six months, so allowing a more experienced organization to help conduct part of the search is a good plan. The VSBA’s searches have been responsible for placing about half of Virginia’s current school division superintendents.

The VSBA will meet with the School Board at 5 p.m. June 10 at the College and Career Academy at Pruden to discuss the search. VSBA will then advertise the job, accept applicants and screen candidates based on the board’s profile of its ideal candidate. Top candidates will be provided to the board for candidate interviews.

The VSBA will not participate in interviews but will advise the board on procedures.

We believe this is a good approach that balances the school division’s needs with the experience the VSBA can provide.

Qualities the new superintendent possesses should include an ability to quickly engender trust and confidence among the employees and parents of the school system as well as the leadership of partner organizations and the citizens of Suffolk; a resolve to help the school system acquire all of the resources it needs, including higher pay for teachers so that Suffolk ceases to be a training ground for educators that soon move on to other school divisions; and an innovative approach to helping boost achievement across all subject areas, grade levels and groups of students.

We look forward to a search process that ends with the hiring of the best possible candidate for Suffolk’s future.