Thursday, February 17, 2011

Superintendent Search.

This morning, Worthington's Superintendent, Dr. Melissa Conrath announced her intention to retire at the end of 2011. Our district owes her our thanks for guiding us through some pretty rocky waters these last 5 years.

The selection of a Superintendent is the single most important responsibility that a local school board has. The Superintendent is the Chief Executive Officer of a 120+ million dollar organization with over 1000 employees with a crucial mission - the education of thousands of children. It is imperative that the Superintendent matches the priorities our community has told us they want for our district - Absolute Excellence and Exponential Impact. In addition, the Superintendent must be cognizant of the harsh economic times we are in and manage the district accordingly.  

Our search process will be open and transparent with many opportunities for community engagement and feedback. At any step in the process, Worthington residents should feel free to pick up the phone and call us or email us. In addition, the district will be setting up a virtual suggestion box on its web site so constituents can provide feedback on the qualities and characteristics desired in Worthington's next superintendent.

Our board has put together a tentative timeline for the search. These things are always fluid but in general, the search should go something like this:

Now Through Early March:  BOE interviews and selects search firm and develops documentation on what Worthington is looking for in a Superintendent

Early March Through Mid April: Search firm collects Resumes

Mid April through Early May:  BOE interviews candidates

Mid May: Finalists Selected

Mid May - Late May:  Finalists interviewed by BOE, administrators, staff, community leaders and possibly members of the public

Late May - Early June: Selection made or, if no suitable candidate is found, restart search

August 1: New Superintendent Starts.

Once again, our entire board welcomes community participation in this process.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Congressional Visit

Yesterday, the Worthington School District and Liberty Elementary School were blessed to host a visit by United States Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15). Never let it be said that Congressman Stivers is afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty as you can see from this short clip.

As the Congressman walked into the classroom, Liberty Elementary School first graders and fifth graders were engaged in a project on how to keep earthworms from escaping into the classroom, a vexing problem on the way to solving the broader problem of cafeteria waste presented by our district's superintendent. The theory is that the earthworms would eat the waste, but the earthworms instead chose to flee. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from our congressional visit, but I didn't expect to see a member of the United States Congress with earthworms crawling all over his hands, but as our guest  put it "My 17 month old daughter would LOVE this". Congressman Stivers spent about an hour with the kids, talking about how a bill because a law (Sorry Congressman, you'll never explain it better than this), what's it like to be in Congress and everything in between.

I think it's important for legislators to see what goes on in a modern elementary school. No longer do we always see 5 rows of 5 kids each listening (or not)  to a teacher in the front for hours at a time. Kids are engaged with smartboards, project(problem) based learning and are expected to demonstrate skills other than the mere regurgitation of facts. Liberty Elementary School, through its renewal proposal, is at the forefront of this mini-revolution. Sometime this year, "No Child Left Behind" will be up for reauthorization. Hopefully, through school visits such as this one, Congressman Stivers and his colleagues in Congress will see that each school has a unique personality and culture, each school can approach the standards differently and trying to force thousands of schools into a federal mold is problematic at best.