Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Closed Meeting Topic Was Superintendent

Tuesday's special Board of Education meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and a couple of us, intrigued by the "action may be taken" tag on the meeting notice, showed up and hung around.

But hours later there was no evidence of a public portion, so we went home.

What we did know is that Dr. Marvin Edwards of the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates was present, along with state and county officials and perhaps candidates for the post of superintendent.

Maybe we have to wait a while until the five finalists who best match the profile for Plainfield are winnowed down to three. Or may be we have to wait for the single finalist before we learn who will be the next chief school administrator.

This quest for a new superintendent began with hiring the Illinois firm last summer for the search and letting them develop criteria based on Plainfield's profile for its next superintendent.

Here's what is posted on the search firm's web site as Plainfield's criteria:


This was derived from meetings with the community last fall.

One stated goal is to have a new superintendent up for a vote in February, but a board goal voiced recently is to have a superintendent in place by July.

The sooner the better, we say. The district now has a degree of stability with the hiring of former school business administrator/board secretary Gary Ottmann for a new term. Ottmann knows Plainfield and knows school business administration.

A capable new superintendent can address issues of curriculum and instruction, high-performing staff, response to state and federal demands for accountability and more.

The right superintendent can do wonders for this troubled district and whoever gets the post should be given free rein to solve its problems without political interference. Given the threats of reduced state funding and even more demands upon teachers and administrators, the next leader must be astute and clever in formulating solutions to these issues.

--Bernice Paglia


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