Focus Group Results: Parents Know Best

Thank you to the board for posting summary results of the superintendent search focus groups. Rather than being a long, boring read, it is surprisingly revealing.

Parents got right to the heart of the matter. Here are the qualities they want in a new superintendent:

  • “… a demonstrated ability to improve curriculum and student performance,” (point #2)
  • “does not sacrifice rigor and challenge at top and all levels in an effort to bring more numbers out of lower scores…” (point #3)

Compare this with the SAU board’s top desired qualities in a superintendent:

  •  “has the requisite competencies and skills expected/required of a superintendent and is certified for the position.” (point #1)
  • “is a negotiator,” (point #2)
  • ” is knowledgeable in state education law including special education law.” (point #3)

Unless the board expects the new superintendent to negotiate college acceptances for TRHS graduates,  parents’ priorities should be the ones that count in selecting a new educational leader for the district.  It’s puzzling that the elected members of the board as a whole don’t seem to share parents’ sense of urgency and desire for higher standards.

The report is dated June 28th and may have been online for some time, but I found it only yesterday.  As background, stakeholders were divided into seven focus groups.  Each group was moderated by an employee of the search company hired to find superintendent candidates for our regional school division,   SAU 55. The focus groups were

  • SAU  Board
  • Administrators  (the most populous group with 21 people attending)
  • Community Members and Leaders  (the group I attended)
  • Faculty/Staff
  • Students
  • Parents of Students
  • Seniors

You can find the report here:

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Filed under SAU 55 Issues, Superintendent Search

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