Columnists

What Do You Want in a New Superintendent?

Community invited

to give feedback on

search for new leader

Just before winter break, Noblesville Schools Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer announced that she would retire at the end of this school year.

She has been superintendent of the district for eight years, since 2014.

I admit that she has been one of the most accessible and engaging superintendents, always visible, always interested in students’ achievements and welfare, and open to conversations with the community.

Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer

But I’m sure being a superintendent is much more difficult — with difficult conversations — today than when she earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership nearly 20 years ago from Purdue University.

Most recently, the school district posted a survey on its website and sent out the survey to school parents. The Board of Trustees of Noblesville Schools and a university search team consisting of educational leadership professors are seeking public input on the qualities and attributes the community is looking for in the next superintendent.

I encourage school parents and our local taxpayers to complete the survey, which is open until March 8.

(Photo courtesy of Noblesville Schools)
Noblesville Schools is seeking a replacement for retiring Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer, pcitured talking with a student, and the members of our community are invited to complete a survey to offer feedback of what they want in a new superintendent.

It’s a very brief survey, three multiple-choice questions with space to write feedback.

Question No. 1 asks what should be the top three priorities for the school district.

Responses include these choices: improving student achievement, increasing school funding, improving the effectiveness of teaching, increasing student enrollment, attracting high quality teachers, improving high quality administrators, improving graduation rates, developing a strategic plan, improving school facilities, improving the district’s technology, improving school community relations, improving school safety, improving the teacher evaluation plan. Survey users can also click on “other” and write in a response.

My choice of responses would be focused on teaching, improving the effectiveness of teaching, improving the teacher evaluation plan and attracting high quality teachers.

Question No. 2 asks what are the two most important personal characteristics the next superintendent should have?

Responses include these choices: approachable, calm, credible, flexible, friendly, good communicator, intelligent, personable, problem solver, sense of humor, trustworthy, values community culture, visible and “other” with a write-in response invited.

While Dr. Niedermeyer seemed to possess all of these attributes, my choice of responses would be that the new superintendent would be be approachable from the community and a problem solver and would continue to strive to find root causes behind student failure and low motivation.

Question No. 3 asks what are the two most important professional skills the next superintendent would have?

Responses include these choices (pick two): Ability to lead district in strategic planning, ability to motivate others, budgetary skills and knowledge, facility skills, grant-writing skills, human relations skills, instructional leadership (curriculum, instruction and assessment), legal knowledge, marketing skills, political savvy, public relations skills, referendum skills, technology skills and “other” with a write-in response invited.

My choice of responses would be the ability to lead the district in strategic planning and the ability to motivate others. I would like the new superintendent to have a strategic vision to identify community goals and help teachers meet performance goals while requiring teachers to ensure that students succeed.

Plus there is space for comments of 300 words or less to write more about what attributes you would like to see in a new superintendent. I encourage the community to be candid with the school district in this writing space.

While the district is seeking the perfect candidate to fill the shoes of our current Superintendent Niedermeyer, my hope is that the school board is transparent, communicates well with the community and doesn’t just “check the boxes.”

To complete the survey before March 8, visit https://www.noblesvilleschools.org/, then scroll down the home page to the “Superintendent Search,” then click on the link under “Community Survey.” -Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.