By Loyd McIntosh, For The Tribune
TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville Board of Education received an update and the results of a special survey regarding the search for a new Trussville City Schools Superintendent Monday night.
In a work session held prior to the start of the Trussville BOE regular meeting, Dr. Michael Barber presented the findings of the Alabama Association of School Boards report on Superintendent Search Community Impact.
The report contained the results of a comprehensive survey of community stakeholders – mostly parents and school system employees – gauging opinions on the qualities and experience desired in the next superintendent as well as the primary challenges currently facing the school system.
Barber, a retired educator who most recently served as the superintendent of the Pell City School System, is heading the search committee for the next Trussville superintendent.
The findings, Barber said, indicate that the community, regardless of their stage in life, are, for the most part, on the same page regarding the direction of the superintendent search and the direction of the school system.
For instance, 52% of parents and students and 51% of school system employees believe the school board should find a candidate with the same overall approach to education as the previous administration, but who can make some necessary changes. Additionally, accountability was the top key quality all survey respondents believe is important in new leadership, followed by student-focused, and leadership ability.
Furthermore, Barber said, meetings and discussions with community stakeholders have shown that parents, students, and teachers all want to see the system improve despite its reputation as one of the top school systems in the state.
“Let me tell you a common thing we had in all of our meetings: It wasn’t ‘Look at us, we’re number three academically in the state,'” Barber said. “It was ‘Don’t look at that because that’s not where we want to be and that’s not where we want to stay.'”
The survey included several recurring themes, such as an increased focus on special education, teacher recruitment and retention, and the opinion that academics and athletics should not compete with each other.
Barber went on to add that the committee currently has close to 20 applicants for the position, but expects more candidates to emerge prior to the application deadline in early February.
“What stuck out to me is everyone wants the same thing,” said Board of Education President Kathy Brown. “We have high expectations. … We’re a high-performing school system and I’m very pleased with all of the comments and suggestions, and where the process stands. It’s a lot to work through.”
In other business, the BOE recognized the following:
- Hewitt-Trussville senior Anne Stewart Rogers, a competitor in the Distinguished Young Women of Alabama scholarship program
- Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Amy Prickett
- Secondary Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Coleman
- Elementary Bus Driver of the Year, Teena Holderfield
- Secondary Bus Driver of the Year, Kathy Bowman
- Cahaba Elementary School Technology Specialist April Smith, a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
- School Board Appreciation Month presented by Interim Superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo