Input sessions scheduled for Wicomico superintendent search

The Wicomico County Board of Education has begun the search for a new superintendent, and next month the entire community will have the chance to help guide the search process.

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education, which the Board has hired to conduct the superintendent search, will hold Stakeholder Input Sessions at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in two locations: the cafeterias of both James M. Bennett High School and Salisbury Middle School. These 7 p.m. sessions will be for the entire community: parents, students, business leaders, community members, public officials, and other interested parties.

Both locations will also host Stakeholder Input Sessions for staff at 4 p.m. that day.

At all of the Stakeholder Input Sessions on Oct. 14, participants will be provided a brief presentation about the superintendent search, will participate in group discussions, and will be asked to answer three questions:

  • What do you feel are the most positive things about Wicomico County and the Wicomico County Public Schools?
  • What characteristics and qualifications do you feel a superintendent should possess?
  • What challenges do you think the new superintendent will face?

The board will use responses to these questions to shape the recruiting process for a new superintendent. The position of superintendent for Wicomico County Public Schools will be advertised starting in November, with applications due by the end of January.

In February and March, applicants will be reviewed, ranked, and screened, with some candidates having an initial, standardized interview for the post. Once the search has narrowed further, a smaller pool of candidates will have a second, more open-ended interview. After this second interview there will be a few finalists, each of whom will spend a day in the district. Focus groups from within the school system and from the community will have the opportunity to meet with each finalist.

The Board’s goal is to choose the top candidate for superintendent by around April 1, and vote to appoint the chosen candidate. The new superintendent would start work on July 1, 2016, when current Superintendent Dr. John E. Fredericksen has completed his contract and retired.

“It’s not easy, because it’s a tough job, and you want to make the right choice,” said MABE’s Dr. Ed Shirley, a retired public school superintendent who now assists Maryland school systems like Wicomico with superintendent searches. “The selection of a superintendent is the most important thing a Board of Education has to do.”

Shirley presented an overview of the superintendent search process at the Wicomico County Board of Education’s September 2015 meeting. A copy of his presentation is posted on the school system website at www.wcboe.org, on the Superintendent Search page.

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