The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 1:00 am

FWCS has checklist of traits for new leader

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The consultants tasked with finding a new superintendent for Fort Wayne Community Schools now have a blueprint to work from.

The community wants a champion of public education. Along with excellent communication skills, this person should be a problem-solver who can make tough decisions and will establish a culture of high expectations for all students and staff.

Those qualities and more were included in a leadership profile the school board informally approved during a work session Monday. The four-paragraph description soon will be added to the superintendent job posting.

Superintendent Wendy Robinson will retire in June after helming the district 17 years. She has worked for FWCS for 47 years.

The board is seeking a candidate who possesses most of the desired traits, the profile states.

“No one is going to have all of the skills,” said Jim Morse, a consultant with search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. He and a colleague presented the leadership profile to the board.

Input gathered through online surveys, interviews, focus groups and public meetings contributed to the profile. Almost 1,300 online surveys were completed, and 202 people provided feedback in person, Morse said.

Board members generally agreed with the profile as presented, although they asked Morse to include language about preferring candidates who are qualified for an Indiana superintendent's license. They would also like the next leader to live within the district.

About 20 people, including parents and FWCS staff, attended the meeting. Hiring someone who recognizes the power of a good teacher is important, one man said. Another suggested the board promote a principal.

It's unlikely a principal will get the district's top job, Morse and board Vice President Steve Corona said.

“It's not that unusual for a principal in a smaller district to ascend because there really aren't that many steps between the high school principal and the superintendent in those smaller districts,” Corona said. “This is a different animal, Fort Wayne Community Schools.”

The consultants find potential candidates through their professional connections and by word of mouth, they said. The Fort Wayne community has already generated more than 100 suggestions, Morse said.

“We'll be back in March with a slate,” he said.

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