Farmington Schools wants visionary, transparent leader

The Farmington Public Schools community has high expectations for its next superintendent.

Consultants with School Exec Connect gave trustees a profile Tuesday that reflects feedback from community forums and an online survey. In all, about 660 responses were received.

Presenters Steve Matthews and Kevin O’Mara reviewed results from the interviews and surveys, which had common elements.

“One theme that came through over and over again is the diversity throughout the district is seen as a strength,” Matthews said of the focus groups.

Other positives included safe schools, strong teachers, community support and collaboration, strong family connections and parent networks, use of technology, and building “21st century” skills like creativity, innovation and problem solving.

On the down side, respondents cited the lack of a clear vision for the future of the district, persistent achievement gaps, race-related issues, trust issues and adversarial relationships among various groups.

List of candidates coming April 27

Consultants said that survey results could be used not only to screen candidates, but also develop interview questions, find out more about what residents are thinking, and learn the strengths and challenges of the district.

The final new superintendent profile includes:

  • exceptional people skills, someone who communicates well and listens
  • experience in and demonstrated ability to address the benefits and challenges of a diverse school community, someone who can address issues of race and equity
  • a vibrant, inspirational, strong, and visible leader
  • demonstrated ability to build and lead a team that will create a vision that inspires and motivates the staff and community
  • ability to place student needs first and understand addressing needs of the whole child
  • engage and build strong relationships with the board to move the district forward in a positive and productive way
  • uses data to inform decision making and is resolute, transparent and honest when making decisions
  • views FPS as an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of students and the community

A list of candidates will be presented on April 27; School Exec Connect expects to have a slate of five to seven strong candidates. First interviews would be conducted May 5-6, second interviews and candidates’ presentations May 11-13.

Trustee Donald Walker asked how officials could get community feedback about the candidates. Matthew said the company would provide some options, but typically provides feedback sheets.

“We won’t ask them to rank candidates, but identify strengths and weaknesses so the board can hear from community and staff about how they see those candidates,” he said. “We will have that before you make that final decision.”

Read the superintendent profile on the district’s website.

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