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Our View: Community criteria will help select new CMSD superintendent




The best solutions come from understanding the issue and the best understanding comes from listening. 


In that respect, this week has an important milestone in the search for a new superintendent for the Columbus Municipal School District. 


Beginning Monday, the Mississippi School Board Association -- the firm charged with identifying candidates for the superintendent position -- has met with a range of stakeholders to listen and to understand what qualities are most important in identifying the best person for this important job. 


Monday, the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce held a meeting for community members to share their views, followed by a CMSD-sponsored meeting for parents and community members yesterday. Today, MSBA representatives will meet with administrators and teachers in separate meetings. 


Community members say they want a hands-on superintendent who will work with staff and teachers in an open, team-oriented atmosphere. They have said they want a superintendent who is engaged with the community, someone who can build strong relationships both within and outside the school system. They want someone who is accessible and accountable. We believe the information shared by those who attended the meeting is important in helping the search firm identify candidates who are best qualified for the job. Every school system has its unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles. By listening to the community, the firm should have a better understanding of those unique dynamics, which in turns should produce a pool of candidates who best meet those demands.  


On April 9, the MSBA will provide its list of candidates for the position. The CMSD Board of Trustees will choose from that group, finalists for the position and has said that the public will be given opportunities to hear from those finalists before the board makes its decision. 


The end result will reflect not only the wisdom of the board, but the strength of the process that preceded their choice. 


This week's meetings were an important part of this process.



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