Beaufort County parents want a driven school superintendent experienced with diversity

Someone full of new ideas and ambitious enough to implement them.

Someone who understands and can work with the diverse Beaufort County community.

Someone willing to make tough decisions and who can navigate tight budgets.

Those are just some of the qualifications the new Beaufort County School District superintendent should have, the three attendees at a Wednesday night forum told a consultant hired to lead the search.

The forum, held at Hilton Head Island High School, was one of eight the board of education and search firm Ray and Associates have called this week to poll the public on what is needed in the next chief of schools.

Bill Newman, the national executive director of Ray and Associates, said the feedback he receives from the forums and the district's online survey will help his firm select candidates for the school board to interview.

A candidate could be hired by February, based on the board's already approved timeline.

Newman also met with current school board candidates in the November election. He hosted a noon forum at Hilton Head High that he said was attended by about 10 residents and a few board members. Two forums were also held Wednesday at Whale Branch Early College High School.

At the Hilton Head forum, attendees said they'd like to see someone continue the gains in test scores, school choice initiatives and other momentum put in place by former superintendent Valerie Truesdale.

"To me, it's a wonderful opportunity for someone to come in and build on (Truesdale's) success ... to really make this a showcase district," Tom Vater, the parent of a senior at Hilton Head High, said.

The three parents also said they want a superintendent who is able to bridge socieoeconomic, racial and geographic divides in the county -- someone with experience working with impoverished children and Hispanic and black children. They also want a leader able to involve residents without children in the system.

"We're not a lily-white suburb. We're not an inner city school," said School Improvement Council chairwoman Roberta Foss. "We're kind of a mixed bag of all that."

Related content

  1. Forums, online survey planned to guide superintendent search; Oct. 2, 2012
  2. Superintendent timeline set; bus cameras still a possibility for Beaufort County; Sept. 25, 2012
  3. Beaufort County School Board selects superintendent search firm; Sept. 4, 2012
  4. School board lowers proposed tax increase, approves superintendent search procedures; Aug. 7, 2012
  5. Beaufort County School District names interim superintendent; July 31, 2012