Athens Engages Public in Superintendent Search

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Athens City Schools Tuesday enlisted the help of the Alabama Association of School Boards to engage the community in a conversation about the qualities needed in the district’s next top educator.

Current superintendent Orman Bridges recently announced he would be leaving his post after 10 years in Athens. He has been an educator and administrator for 41 years.

A public meeting was held Tuesday morning at the central office where community member filled out survey and provided input to questions like:

“What are the top three skills the next superintendent will need and why?”

And:

What changes are needed to improve the school system?”

“We will synthesize all that we have heard down into a report for the board,” says Leadership Development Director for The Alabama Association of School Boards, Susan Salter.

Salter says the position will be formally posted March 27 with a May 2 deadline to generate a pool of five finalists which will be presented on May 13.

In addition to the community engagement process the school board has also provided on online survey on the Athens City Schools website. The school board will use the data to generate the criterion for potential candidates.

“This gives them another tool for really focusing on what the community and the employees think will be important in the next leader.”

Qualities such as vision, innovation and communication were among the top priorities for those who attended the Tuesday morning session.

“More of the same is not always better and I think that’s often the trap we fall into in education,” said director of the Athens Public Library Paula Laurita who voiced her concerns at the meeting.

“What I would be hoping for is somebody who’s willing to do new things and try new things,” Laurita said, “just because it’s been done that way forever doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to do something.”

A second community meeting is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. in the board room at the Athens Board of Education Central Office at 455 U.S. Highway 31 North.

The new superintendent is expected to be announced by July 1.

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