Members of a committee searching for Fort Wayne Community Schools' next superintendent want the public to tell them what they want in the schools' next leader.
In a public work session Thursday, the group began its task of picking a successor to Superintendent Wendy Robinson by planning to schedule several public meetings, likely in October, to gather input.
Robinson has said she will retire when her contract expires at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
The committee indicated they'd like the public meetings to occur even before the final draft of a job description is issued. The sessions could be held at the high schools and the Family and Community Engagement Center, committee members said.
During the work session, attended by about a dozen parents and teachers, the committee took no formal votes. But members said their next priority is to develop a formal Request for Proposals, or RFP, for a professional search firm, should they decide to use one as a search consultant.
Board members also met Wednesday night in a closed executive session with Michael Adamson of the Indiana School Boards Association for an outline of what is required in a search.
The association offers search assistance, but the board also could choose to hire a private consultant, Julia Hollingsworth, board president, said. “I think this fall is when we want to meet with those firms, if not sooner,” she said.
School board member Steve Corona said the committee is not ruling out either undertaking a nationwide search or choosing someone from within the district.
“I've felt all along we're going to get a good candidate pool,” he said, because the district is in good financial shape and has a record of solid leadership. But crucial is finding out what the community sees as important, Corona said.
He acknowledged that public meetings during the last hiring process weren't especially well attended. But, he said, “I think at the time there was a strong feeling we had a strong internal candidate. But this is an entirely different situation.”
Robinson has been superintendent for 16 years and has worked for FWCS in various capacities, including as a teacher, for about 40 years.