MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County school board met earlier this week and outlined specifics they desire for the next leader of the local public school system. After the announcement late last fall that Superintendent Geneva Braziel will resign later this year, the board is now charged with finding the right person to fill the role and lead the next chapter for Baldwin County Schools.
The board would be wise to remember past missteps in the superintendent search process and resolve to not make the same missteps in the process this time around. The superintendent’s search and subsequent hire in 2007-2008 resulted in community divisiveness, not to mention a second superintendent’s search just a few short months into the next school year.
The board should also be mindful to be inclusive in the process by getting input from the community and its stakeholders. As the school board begins the search for its next leader school officials are also in the midst of formulating the next strategic plan, which will determine the direction of the school system over the course of the next five years. It’s imperative that the board be mindful of this, as the next superintendent to take the helm will be charged with implementing this plan.
Transparency — as much as this personnel process permits — is another key element. The board outlined Monday a draft of broad qualifications for the next superintendent and discussed them, and as this process continues to develop school board members should keep the community abreast of its steps in this process.
Last month the board of education contracted with the Georgia School Boards Association for GSBA to conduct the initial search and evaluation for a new school superintendent. A part of this process will include a community forum conducted by GSBA to get input on the characteristics community members would like to see in a new superintendent. This forum and the community surveys that will be compiled shouldn’t be viewed by the school board as a formality or just another step in the search process. Board members should listen carefully to the feedback they receive at the upcoming forum and take it to heart as they continue in the process.
While ultimately the selection of the next school superintendent is the board’s decision, board members must remember that every stakeholder — parents, students and business leaders — is affected by the outcome. The next leader of Baldwin County Schools will help lead the charge for this community’s future. The board must remember the missteps of the past, take its time and think through this process wisely and carefully. This decision has too great an impact not to.