By NEMS Daily Journal
The search for the next superintendent of the Tupelo Public School District gained some steam last week when a search firm came to town to conduct focus groups with stakeholders. Dr. Mike Waldrop, the executive director of the Mississippi School Board Association, led 17 such groups on Monday and Tuesday to give residents and school personnel a chance to speak about what they would like to see from the school district’s next leader. The MSBA, which is leading the search, will soon advertise for the position, which became vacant when Randy Shaver was given an early release from his contract in April.
As the search continues, the Daily Journal spoke with Eddie Prather, the vice president of the Tupelo school board and the point-person for the search.
Q: HOW WILL THE SCHOOL BOARD use the information gathered this week by the Mississippi School Board Association during the focus group meetings?
A: THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL USE THE INFORMATION gathered from this week’s stakeholder meetings in a two-fold manner. This will help the search firm in identifying prospective candidates that fit the profile from all information gathered, and this will give board members an insight of community expectations of our next school leader.
Q:WHAT ARE SOME OF THE QUALITIES the school board would like to see in the next superintendent?
A: THE SEARCH FIRM CONDUCTED a survey with all board members of our expectations. The board as a whole has most of the same expectations of qualities we are looking for in our next superintendent. Just to name a few: A strong instructional leader with an academic background, a good communicator with all stakeholders, skills in improving student achievement, a good fiscal manager. By no means are these all the qualities we are looking for in our next leader, but this will give us a good starting point.
Q: HOW AND WHEN WILL THE SCHOOL BOARD develop a timetable for the superintendent search?
A: THE START OF THE PROCESS INCLUDED conducting stakeholders meetings, compiling the results, developing a brochure and advertising for the position. According to Dr. Waldrop, this could take from six to eight weeks. Possibly, we will be getting into the second semester. Hopefully we can start the interview process sometime soon after that. This is something we don’t want to rush.