Residents: Next superintendent needs experience

Few attend first community forum

About a dozen residents attended a March 1 community forum to voice preferred qualities they desire in the next District 194 superintendent.

Public feedback was also gathered at a March 6 forum, and all input will be used to seek and screen candidates. School Board members expect to hire a new superintendent in May to replace Lisa Snyder, who unexpectedly resigned in November. Her last day is June 30, when her contract expires.

Most at the forum agreed the next superintendent needs to be a proven leader, passionate about student learning, experienced in passing levies and forwarding an established vision.

Residents said they also want an experienced superintendent with conflict management skills who can work well with the School Board, listen to the community and maintain the strong relationship between the district and business community.

They said the ideal candidate would also have a track record of working well with tenured employees and have an ability to preserve programs despite budget cuts and pressures.

Residents also agreed honest communication is critical and expressed concern the next superintendent be committed to the district for the long-term.

Ray & Associates search consultant Craig Morris facilitated the meeting and predicted the district would have a strong pool of candidates from which to choose.

He said Lakeville is an attractive place to live with engaged and involved families.

“I hope that I make the board lose sleep because they’re going to have a really tough decision about who to bring forward, not because of an inadequate pool or a lack of sufficient candidates, but because they’re going to have to make a tough choice between the best people out there,” Morris said.

Lakeville City Council Member Luke Hellier attended the meeting, as did Board Chair Michelle Volk and Board Members Terry Lind and Judy Keliher.

Board members expressed gratitude for those who took the time to share their thoughts.

“We’ve learned a lot of things just listening to you dialoguing about what’s important to you in your schools,” Volk said. “The one thing I can say about this board is that we do listen. So, we hear you … and reflect on that and try to incorporate that in our decision-making.”