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Community Wants Input in New Superintendent Selection

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Teachers, parents, students and concerned citizens filled the lobby at Unifi-Ed Monday night.

Unifi-Ed, a local education advocacy organization, held a meeting to start the discussion on what the community wants to see in a new Hamilton County superintendent.

The goal of the meeting was to come up with guidelines to give the school board on what the community wants.

"A quality I would like to see is someone who accepts full responsibility from day one," Hal Baker, a community member, said. "For all the good stuff and all the bad, who fully understands the buck stops right there at his desk."

Unifi-Ed executive director Elizabeth Crews led the discussion. She asked everyone questions, like, 'How much experience should a new superintendent have?'

"I'd like to see a superintendent who has more teaching experience, or a heftier teaching experience than the administration experience," Molly Wilkins, a teacher, said.

A big topic of discussion was about what process the community could use to help the school board pick the next leader.

Franklin McCallie suggested a community question and answer panel with each of the candidates. "Somebody moderates it and the superintendent tries to sell himself or herself to that entire community."

"These conversations all have something to do with us because it's our education but we're not included in that," student Akia Lewis added many students would like to be involved in the discussion.

The group also talked about ways to hold the school board accountable for hiring the candidate the community wants to take the job.

"The question really isn't 'are we as a community buyout out superintendents?', the question is 'what is it that we're looking for that we haven't held people accountable for?'" Lakweshia Ewing, a parent, said.

Crews says they plan to have more of these meetings around the community.

The group will present those guidelines to the school board in the next few weeks.

Unifi-Ed will also host sessions on how members of the public can run for school board.

Four seats on the school board are up for election.

Tomorrow, Unifi Ed will host a meeting at their office on McCallie avenue at 6 o'clock.

For information on future meetings, click here.

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