When Plymouth-Canton Community Schools hires its next superintendent in the spring, the candidate will come from a national pool selected by Iowa-based search firm Ray & Associates.
District parents already are assembling a wish list of sorts for the successor to Jeremy Hughes, who currently serves in the position on an interim basis after the 2011 departure of Craig Fiegel. A public forum Monday at Canton Public Library moderated by William Newman of Ray & Associates offered an initial chance for parents and community members to help shape the search process by offering criteria for potential candidates.
Hughes has said he has no interest in retaining the job after his contract expires in June 2013.
Parents seek transparency, strong communication
About 10 parents attended the meeting and suggested they'd like to see strong communication and transparency with the next superintendent, as well as someone who sticks to their convictions and has a strong vision—and a commitment to that vision—for the district.
Finding appealing candidates, however, is just a part of the equation for the superintendent search, Newman said. The district also must be able to draw top candidates looking for an appealing place to call home.
Parents cited strong academic standards and instructors, supportive and engaged families, an involved community and diversity among the district's assets.
Search process will be visible to community
Newman said his firm, which recently helmed superintendent searches in West Bloomfield and Ann Arbor, will make the process transparent to community members, including televising candidate interviews and offering profiles of job candidates to local media.
"The process is such that we want to get the best candidates in front of the board as we possibly can," Newman said.
Because the search is pulling candidates from around the United States, Newman said, regional candidates don't hold any edge over applicants elsewhere.
"Does that mean a Michigan person won't get a job? We have no idea," Newman said.
Representatives from Ray & Associates met with elementary teachers and support staff before Monday's forum and will meet with high school students and teachers, middle school teachers and support staff, administrators, local elected officials and parent groups in separate focus groups on Tuesday.