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Superintendent Search: Parents, Students Asked to Help Interview Candidates

Parents can apply to interview semifinalist candidates for Fairfax County's next superintendent.

The Fairfax County School Board is seeking parents, staff and community members for a committee that will help interview candidates for the school system's next superintendent.

—the search firm hired by the board this fall that held a number of input meetings with stakeholders — met with thousands of parents, staff, members of the business community and other stakeholders in late 2012. Those meetings were to gauge what kind of qualities people would look for in a leader to replace  after nine years at the helm of one of the country's largest school systems.

But the board, in an effort to make this search process more open and inclusive than the one that led to Dale's hiring in 2004, wants to go one step further and involve the public in at least some of the interviewing process, school board members say.

The 18-member committee it's now seeking to develop will be a part of the semifinalist candidate interviews in April; it's asked the Fairfax County Council of PTAs (FCCPTA) to help identify five FCPS parents to serve on that group.

It's an approach that's never been taken in Fairfax County before, board member Ryan McElveen (at-large) said.

"It's a bit of a compromise between opening up the entire search process to the public (and hence potentially losing qualified applicants who are currently employed and don't want that employment to be put in jeopardy by applying elsewhere) and having a completed closed process, in which only the Board would interview candidates," McElveen wrote in an email to Patch, noting the approach is the same one used by HYA and Montgomery County in 2011 when they hired Joshua Starr.

When recommending parents to the committee, the FCCPTA will be looking for those that represent a range of races and ethniciies, grade levels, soci-economic status, geographic areas of the county, and types of services received (regular, gifted, special and English as a Second Language education) .

Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill) said she was confident Montgomery County's experience with the process was a successful precedent for Fairfax.

"I'm hopeful it will give us good feedback from important stakeholders as we make this very important choice," she told Patch. 

Interested parents can find an application and more details on the FCCPTA website.president@fccpta.org by February 13 or mailed and postmarked by February 12 to FCCPTA, P.O. Box 3535, Merrifield, VA 22116-3535. 

See also:

Profile of next Fairfax Superintendent Takes Shape

Community Forums Scheduled for Superintendent Search

Board Lays Early Plan for Superintendent Search

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