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School system hosts superintendent's forum

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Residents of Clayton County will have a chance to voice their opinions about who should be the next school superintendent next week - six months after Dr. Barbara Pulliam vacated the position.

The school system is soliciting input from the community through leadership profile assessments, which have been published in the media, and were mailed to residents this week.

The board of education will also conduct a superintendent-search forum on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m., at the district's Central Administration Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

The forum will give community members a final opportunity to tell the executive search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd., what kind of person should be the next leader of Clayton County's public schools. The survey forms sent to the community must be mailed or faxed to the firm by Jan. 29. The fax number is: (847) 724-8467.

"As you are aware, the Clayton County Board of Education has initiated its search for a new superintendent," board chairperson, Ericka Davis, wrote in a letter to residents and school system staff members. "A very important step in this process is the identification of the characteristics we will be looking for in our new superintendent."

The leadership profile assessments ask survey takers to list two or three "significant strengths" of the district, as well as the most important challenges facing the school system.

The form also asks respondents to list three characteristics a new superintendent should have. And, there is a section which lists 15 skills, such as decisiveness, the ability to work in collaboration with others, and the ability to work "directly and fairly" with employees, students and parents.

The Illinois-based firm of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd., was hired in December 2007 to conduct the initial stages of the search. The firm will present a slate of candidates to the board in April, and the goal is to have a new superintendent hired by mid-summer.

Davis recently told the Clayton News Daily she believes a current investigation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will not have a negative effect on the search.

She said she believes the investigation, which has revealed wide-spread problems within the district, will attract candidates interested in the challenge of fixing the school system.

"If you can turn this district around, you can really make a name for yourself," Davis said on Jan. 22.