By Betsy Dolan
After receiving community input through an online survey, focus groups and community meetings, the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has outlined the qualifications they will seek in the next superintendent of Texas’ seventh largest provider of public education.
The desired qualifications were discussed by the BOT in a December work session led by Bill Attea who represents the superintendent firm hired by the district. The criteria includes:
• An understanding and appreciation for diversity.
• A vision for what is required to provide exemplary educational services.
• Believe in dealing directly, fairly and collaborating with all.
• Knowledge of research related to learning.
• Assess and improve student performance.
• Delegating effectively, working in a team environment and being held accountable.
• Fostering positive morale by developing trust, respect and visibility in the district.
• Working collaboratively with the board.
• Abiding by the district’s strategic plan and utilizing limited resources effectively.
“From what we saw and heard, you need someone who has a vision of what is required to provide exemplary educational services and someone who has an understanding and appreciation of diversity. Those two things will be critical in addressing the needs of this district in the future,” Attea said.
Nearly 1,500 people participated in the online survey, focus group or community meeting on the qualifications sought in a new superintendent. Those meetings and survey information also pointed out strengths and concerns the next superintendent may be working with.
Many commended Fort Bend ISD for being a high performing district, for having appropriate safety measures in place and for having a quality staff. Character Education, curricular and extra-curricular activities, the Fine Arts program and parent involvement also got high marks.
Diversity was mentioned as a strength in the district but also as a weakness.
“There is a common feeling in the district that it is an east versus west issue–the Latinos and the African Americans versus the whites and Asians,” said Attea. “But what you have is not a minority issue. It is a wealth issue–a socioeconomic issue. ”
There were other concerns expressed, including an inexperienced board, staff turnover, financing issues, a lack of technology planning and accessible data and not always putting student needs first.
“People laud your college-bound program,” Attea told the board. “But there is the feeling that if a student is not college bound, they are not getting as good of an education as college bound kids are.”
Two hundred seventy five people who participated in the online survey or attended one of the meetings did choose to make a recommendation as to who the next superintendent should be.
Attea will use the criteria to review applicants and narrow the field. The firm will conduct pre-interviews, background and reference checks and hope to have the names of 3-5 top candidates to the board by February.