Elections give residents their best opportunity to weigh in on government, but Fort Wayne Community Schools is allowing residents a strong voice in the process of hiring Superintendent Wendy Robinson's successor. The school board is inviting and encouraging public input in its search – an invitation community members should accept.
The board hired Hazard, Young,Attea & Associates of Schaumburg, Illinois, to lead the search process. The firm, which will be paid $36,975, is also handling searches for superintendents in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Vero Beach, Florida; and Norwalk, Connecticut. Fort Wayne is the largest of its nine district searches.
“I think the board is pleased with the efforts of the search firm,” said board President Julia Hollings-worth. “They are working on the initial phase of gathering community input, not only public meetings, but also through the online survey for people who can't attend one of the meetings.”
She said internal district meetings with teachers, administrators and classified staff also will be part of the process of developing a job description and leadership profile.
Indianapolis Public Schools recently conducted its own superintendent search, naming its interim leader, Aleesia Johnson, to its top post in June. Devon Horton, chief of school for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, and Larry Young Jr., assistant superintendent for elementary education in Marion County's Pike Township Schools, were also finalists for the Indianapolis post.
Johnson, a first-time superintendent, has a base salary of $238,000 this year, plus a $12,000 vehicle allowance. Robinson, superintendent since 2003, earns a base salary of $210,164, plus an annuity and other benefits totaling an estimated $278,807 to $293,807 annually.
Hollingsworth said she's hoping the district, the largest in Indiana, can hire a leader who has been as successful as Robinson, whose retirement is effective at the end of June.
“Arguably, she has led the district in its most turbulent time,” the board president said, referring to changes in state oversight of schools. “FWCS has emerged from all of that as a pretty healthy district, I think. We need someone to build on that success; to connect with the community – with parents and the business community.”
Hollingsworth said she thinks the post is an attractive one.
“We certainly have an awesome record of community support,” she said. “I think the district is heading in the right direction. We can offer any pathway students want. I think we have some real strengths.”
Strong community input in the search will only improve the process. If you live or work in the district, take a moment to complete the online survey and share your thoughts on this vitally important hire for Fort Wayne.
To learn more
Superintendent search information
(subject to change)
Through Nov. 29: Survey window open
Dec. 3-5: Community meetings. Times and locations to be announced.
Dec. 16: Full job description and community and leadership profile to be presented.
March: Board to review slate of candidates prepared by search firm.
Early April: First round of board interviews
Late April: Board selects semi-finalists; second interviews
Early May: Finalist announced; contract posted
Late May: Board approval of appointment