Community input wanted on superintendent search

Published 7:19 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Demopolis City School System’s search for a new superintendent is on.

The board voted last week for the Alabama Association of School Boards to conduct a search to find the system’s new leader.

The current superintendent, Dr. Al Griffin, retires at the end of June.

The school board signed the contract with the AASB, and they have already started the search. An online survey has been posted and they will host community meetings Thursday to get input from the parents, the community, elected officials and school board members.

“I’m somewhat encouraged by the approach [the board] is taking now,” said Mayor Mike Grayson. “I would say that is very important to get feedback from the community. It is going to let the school board know what people are looking for in a superintendent.”

The survey can be taken online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/DemopolisSearch. The questions focus on the importance of candidates’ previous success, preparing and managing a budget, raising student achievement levels and building relationships, among other factors.

The survey also asks people to leave feedback on issues the school system faces, such as employee moral, enrollment, academic achievement and the system’s graduation rate.

“The school system is crucial to what we’re trying to accomplish here in this community,” Grayson said. “The school system and the hospital are cornerstones for the community, and we cannot allow our school system to be mediocre.”

The meetings will start at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce, located at 102 E. Washington St. The first meeting, which is from 11-12 p.m. will be for parents and community members. Administrators and school system staff, as well as elected officials, will also get a chance to meet with the AASB to give their input on the search.

“What I personally am looking for is a person, man or woman, that can come in here and understand the importance of excellence, understand the principle of disciple and is committed to maintaining a high degree of student achievement,” Grayson said.

“That’s a pretty tall order, but honestly, if we don’t set our mark high, then we’ll fall under the mark very easily and that is not what we’re about.”

Parents and community members will get another chance to give their input to the AASB from 5:15-6:15 p.m.

According to Alex Braswell, the school board’s attorney, the AASB will take the input given to them by the community and others to compile criteria for their search.

The process is expected to take somewhere from four to six months to complete, according to Jim Stanford, school board chairman.