Thursday, February 10, 2005

School board gets input on search
Contributing Writer

Several Holly Springs residents attended a public forum last Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Multi-Purpose Building on Memphis Street to discuss and give input on the hiring of a new superintendent of education.

The meeting was facilitated by the Holly Springs School District Board of Trustees and was meant to give the community a chance to deliberate on the qualifications and attributes of the superintendent, said Martha Thomas, the board secretary.

The current superintendent, Judy Smith, in January announced her retirement at the close of her five-year contract. The city school board is faced with the task of finding a fitting replacement.

According to Thomas, the meeting was the beginning of a process that the board assured the audience would be done thoroughly.

“We initiate the search with a community forum to make it a very interactive process tonight,” she said.

Attendees were allowed to suggest skills that they feel a new superintendent should possess. Fiscal management skills, academic experience, knowledge concerning issues state-wide, strong leadership skills, efficiency, and assertiveness, are all qualifications that the audience brought to the attention of the board.

“We need someone who is driven to help to raise this school system to a level 5,” said Rev. Willie Jeffries.

“The candidate should be a motivator as well as motivated in management and people skills,” suggested Rhonda Bowens, vice president of the Intermediate School’s PTA.

“We have a job description as to what we are looking for, yet we need community input on what the community feels is important,” explained Thomas. “We may be in a position to have an interim superintendent if we do not complete this process.”

The board hopes that the position is filled prior to June 30, the day before Smith’s retirement is scheduled to begin.

Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said, “Public relations skills, marketing skills and team building skills are all important. The superintendent will need to work well with other people in leadership because he or she will be dealing with issues that they, themselves, did not help create.”

The board members will be attending state conference in the coming weeks and the final decision on a new superintendent ultimately rests in their hands.

The next school board meeting takes place Thursday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Central Office Boardroom., 840 Highway 178 East, Holly Springs.

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