Superintendent search vital for whole community

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, November 14, 2010

Successful communities maintain their standing due to acontinuity in leadership from one administration to another.

Changes in leadership often put those communities at a fork in theroad and present the opportunity to stay on a chosen path or changecourse in a new direction.

Continued success is the ultimate destination, but which trailleads that way is difficult to see at decision time. Of course,both roads may lead to the desired destination, just with oneoutcome being a little more desirable than the other.

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With Superintendent Lea Barrett’s announced intentions to retire,the Brookhaven School District is facing such a situationnow.

Twenty-eight applicants have responded to the search effort to findthe city school district’s next superintendent. That total includesat least four school district leaders serving in other areas.

These applicants recognize a wonderful opportunity to lead theBrookhaven School District and are willing to accept the challengeof building on the strong foundation that Barrett and herpredecessors have laid. Because of the importance that educationplays to a community’s overall success, the new leader will alsoplay an instrumental role in the city’s future as well.

The decision on who actually is chosen to take the leadership reinsrests with the district’s board of trustees. Members are expectedto evaluate applicants in the near future and narrow the field toseven finalists, who will be invited to interview.

While the board of trustees will make the actual decision, parentsand other residents of the district have a vested interest in whothe next leader will be. Their interest in the decision-makingprocess and input should be welcomed and encouraged.

After all, the superintendent is responsible for setting theeducational tone of the district.

Strong candidates build upon their districts’ strengths and workhard to address weaknesses. Lesser ones do not.

The challenge for the school board will be to evaluate applicantsand attempt to predict those who will fall into the first categoryand sift out those who reside in the latter. It is a task that isof vital importance for all who wish to see the school district -and by extension the entire community – continue on a prosperouspath.