Superintendent search firm gets input from residents

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BERRYVILLE -- Dr. Diana Julian and Ronnie Greer, consultants for search firm McPherson and Jacobson LLC, met with community stakeholders last week to get input on what the school district would like to see from its new superintendent.

"We're here to help the Berryville School Board do the very best it can in hiring a new superintendent," Julian said.

In addition to students, teachers, administrators and other district employees, Mac and Jake -- as the firm is commonly called -- held a public meeting last Thursday night in the Berryville Intermediate School cafetorium to see what community members thought a new superintendent should bring to the table.

Like the School Board previously discussed, everyone in attendance seemed to agree that Berryville's new superintendent needs to be a good communicator, with employees, parents and the community-at-large.

Those in attendance also discussed what the potential finalists for the superintendency should be aware of in the school district. They cited a need for a new master plan for the district, and soliciting the opinions of community members in doing so.

In light of the growth that the district is seeing in terms of enrollment, the people at the meeting highlighted a need to retain and attract quality teachers, which may mean raising salary levels.

The fact that the School Board was split on its decision to not renew current Superintendent Dr. Randy Byrd's contract was also brought up as something the new superintendent needs to be aware of in coming to Berryville.

The superintendent search process was kicked off on Jan. 20 when, by a 3-4 vote, the Berryville School Board declined to renew Byrd's contract for another year. His current contract is up at the end of June.

Vonda Bailey, Lydia King and David Waller voted to renew his contract, while Todd Howard, Kristi Howerton, Jeff Miles and Sherri Plumlee voted against it. The latter all told Carroll County News they had no comment on why they voted against renewing Byrd's contract.

The School Board will hold a meeting this Thursday, March 20, at 6 p.m. in the high school library to go over what Julian and Greer learned from the stakeholder groups last week and start to determine what questions they will be asking the finalists for the superintendent position during interviews.

Applications are still open for the Berryville superintendency. Julian and Greer will review all applicants before submitting three to five finalists to the School Board, which has the right to accept, reject or change them.

The School Board will interview the finalists the week of May 5, with the decision on who the next Berryville School District superintendent will be coming at the end of that week.

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