Dr. Kendy Behrands.
Dr. Kendy Behrands, the primary finder consultant assigned to Hoover City Schools, was at the called board meeting to share the results of the community survey. About 80 people attended those stakeholder meetings Feb. 3.
From the input meetings on Feb. 3, AASB was able to determine many skills and traits that were important. They are looking for a person who demonstrates integrity, is approachable and a good listener, makes informed decisions while focusing on what is best for students and is a progressive thinker.
Other traits listed were someone who communicates effectively and efficiently with all stakeholders, embraces diversity, sets high expectations, studies the district’s organizational charts, fairly allocates resources and plans for growth accordingly.
Stakeholders expressed that the superintendent would need to be a proven district leader who understands education thoroughly and as well as the business side of education. Rezoning, busing, unitary status and the cleaning services issues were ranked the most imminent challenges along with achievement gaps and funding.
AASB also worked with NewSouth research to conduct an online survey to allow community members, parents and administrators to share the skills, experience and personal traits they felt the new superintendent should have. About 927 surveys were completed either online or by the telephone.
In the open-ended section, integrity and honesty were the top ranked attributes while the aided section had integrity ranked No. 2 only to student-focused. The third ranked attribute presented was a superintendent who is experienced. In the expertise section, student safety was ranked the top concern among stakeholders. Challenging students for academic success, listening to constituents and managing the school system budgets were also listed as the critical areas of expertise.
Behrands noted that past experience is critical, and more than half of the stakeholders said that the new superintendent needed to have experience as a classroom teacher. Community members also wanted the superintendent to have served as a principal and an executive leader.
Finally, Behrands reported on the stated needs of the community, which revolved around maintaining trust, improving academic achievement and finances.
The board members were given copies of Behrands' report, and they will determine what qualities and characteristics they will list on the job posting. Behrands said the superintendent job will be posted Feb. 17, and AASB will begin finding candidates then.
From the board
The Hoover Board of Education had to determine if the superintendent candidate will need to live in Hoover, if their children will need to attend Hoover City Schools, the salary range of the candidate and the qualifications they are looking for.
Board members unanimously determined that the new superintendent would need to live in the school district just as all the board members are required to do the same. Their child or children would be expected to attend Hoover City Schools, but the board recognized extenuating circumstances could prevent them from doing so.
Board member Earl Cooper suggested a base salary of $185,000 with the opportunity for the candidate to gain higher incentives after performing well. Behrands suggested listing the word “negotiable” with the salary in order to attract a greater number of candidates.
“I think we are truly determined to get the best candidate that we can possibly get,” board president Donna Frazier said, stating that the students, teachers and administrators deserved it.
Ultimately, the board decided to post a minimum salary of $185,000, stressing that it is negotiable based on performance. Behrands said this will typically be a three-year contract.
Board member Craig Kelley started the discussion of the qualities of the superintendent. He said this person must understand the challenges facing Hoover City Schools and be ready to lead the district. Cooper added that leadership is the key component of the search, but they also need to have a servant’s heart.
Board member Stephen Presley followed in suit to stress the qualities of leadership, which echoed the wants of the community. He said he wanted a superintendent with the ability to instill a want to reach further and never stop improving.
Board member Derrick Murphy said he wanted someone who is passionate, even to the point of putting his job on the line for the needs of the students. This would mean someone who is willing to have courage and be bold. Frazier stressed the need for moving forward in the technology arena.
Frazier also asked for Louise White with Hoover City Schools to voice her opinion as she spent the most time with former superintendent Andy Craig.
“One word that really says it all, which this man does that I have witnessed, is communicate,” White said.