Residents Want New Superintendent to Be Just Like Hughes
The district has its work cut out for it in finding a replacement for Superintendent William Hughes: A number of parents said they would like someone who is as visible and approachable as Hughes.
One parent said she wished the new Greendale superintendent could be a clone of outgoing Superintendent William Hughes.
Ted Blaesing of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, a firm hired to recruit the new superintendent, led the Thursday night forum. About 20 people came to give input on what they want to see in a superintendent. All attendees either have or have had children in the Greendale School District or have attended themselves as well.
Dr. William Hughes announced his resignation effective July 1, 2012. Hughes has served the district as superintendent since 1996 and is leaving to work as director of leadership development with Schools That Can Milwaukee.
Many residents said Hughes will be a hard act to follow and the new superintendent might be in his shadow for a while.
“Dr. Hughes is the real deal,” said one parent. “He has the ability to surround himself with excellent people.”
It became difficult at the forum to talk about the challenges the district might face because people were so engaged in discussing the positive and popular aspects they would like to maintain.
Areas commended by the public included:
- Current academic strength
- Special needs services
- Forward thinking in areas such as technology
- Character building and community service programming
- Strong communication with the community; an example cited was an email sent to parents informing them of a bomb threat
- Strong visibility of the superintendent
- Community committees seeking public input
- Building partnerships, such as the Alverno College partnership
People said whoever is chosen as superintendent needs to have the skills to face the following challenges:
- Economic challenges being faced by budget cuts
- An appropriate amount of technology usage in the schools
- Keeping good, passionate teachers during a time of high record number of retirements
- Keeping relationships with the changing demographics in age
The attendees agreed the next superintendent needs to be visible in the community and approachable. Many cited Hughes' representation at local events. The superintendent also needs to have a good working relationship with other Village groups, whether it's Village Hall, Park & Rec or the businesses.
The Greendale School District has been known as a destination district that has been ranked in a number of publications. One parent said, "Greendale Public Schools is its (Greendale's) diamond. This is our industry."
Blaesing met with 28 Greendale High School students who said they want someone to engage them, continue to allow the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee and keep the student liaisons on the school board.
"They like what’s going on and want to protect that," Blaesing said.
Blaesing said the firm will present the school board with a profile report developed from the online survey and the community forum on June 11.
He also said that about 10 to 15 candidates will receive screening interviews and the firm will bring a number of candidates to the board in late July. The interviews will begin and conclude in the first week of August.
Click here to fill out the online survey. Final day to submit the survey is June 5.