School system’s online survey asks public to spell out priorities

The process for selecting a new superintendent for the Fayette County School System is underway. A part of that process is an online survey located on the school system’s website. The process became necessary following the Sept. 19 announcement of a “mutual termination agreement” between the Fayette County Board of Education and Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

The survey includes nine question and comment areas. A number of the questions list optional answers indicating if the item is considered mandatory, important but not mandatory or not considered very important.

Those questions include whether it is important that the next superintendent have a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree and if the next superintendent should have prior experience as a superintendent, principal or classroom teacher or previous experience in private business.

Another question deals with the successful candidate’s documented history of leadership and the categories that would apply.

Still another questions asks the preferred areas in which the new superintendent should have special expertise. Another question asks the survey respondents to identify their status as a parent of a student, a non-parent member of the community or a school system employee.

And included in the survey is a place for respondents to include other considerations or qualifications they consider crucial to the selection of the new superintendent.

A link to the survey is located on the homepage at www.fcboe.org.

The Sept. 19 announcement of the mutual termination agreement between Bearden and the school board was followed Oct. 1 by a unanimous vote by the board to have the Georgia School Boards Association conduct the search process for a new superintendent.

The entire process will be one that is open and transparent,” said GSBA Executive Director Sis Henry in a Sept. 28 letter. “This is not a venture to recruit a group of candidates to be recommended to the board of education.”

Henry said the 17-step process will result in a search that is open to everyone wishing to submit an application. Those applications will be reviewed in light of the qualifications deemed important by the school board and all applications will be presented to the board, Henry said.

A sample timetable provided by GSBA showed a period of 4-5 months to complete the process.

GSBA was the organization heading the search that culminated with Bearden being selected in late 2010 to fill the position of retiring Superintendent John DeCotis.

The board’s Sept. 19 unanimous action came with essentially no discussion prior to the vote.