- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—ABILENE, Texas — When the Abilene Independent School District’s board of trustees unveils its lone finalist for superintendent at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at One AISD Center, 241 Pine St., it’ll mark the end of a process that began in February.

Along the way, Waterford School Services Inc. was hired to facilitate the search. As part of the process, the firm created a profile of the district’s ideal candidate that turned into a list of 53 desired characteristics.

These identifiers were compiled from meetings with the public, questionnaires on the school district’s website and through conversations with staff, community organizations and the trustees themselves.

At the top of the list was a requirement the candidate be an ethical leader.

“For me it was ethics, and integrity, and I think the other board members would agree with that,” trustee Stan Lambert said. “We were focused on the inner personality of the individual. Yes, we want to know what they’ve done, what kind of experience they have running school districts and how their career evolved into being a superintendent. But for us, in this particular juncture in the history of AISD, it was important for us to find an individual who can come into Abilene and immediately gain credibility and let us refocus on what our primary objectives are.”

Other categories in the profile were:

Promoting district and community harmony

Creating organizational health and maintaining a positive school climate

Communicating and motivating effectively

Maintaining an effective working relationship with the board

Visionary instruction focused on student success

Effective fiscal leadership

Strong academic credentials

Within these categories, characteristics included “Becomes involved in community and civic organizations and is part of the Abilene community,” “Is accessible and is imaginative about how to interact with faculty and staff,” “Cares deeply about the success of students and ensures student success,” and “Supports and follows effective governance policies and is transparent in resolving identified concerns.”

Trustee Kelvin Kelley said his interactions with the superintendent candidates were fantastic. He said the process was difficult because there were so many quality choices.

Kelley said 52 candidates submitted applications, a list that was reduced to 28 legitimate contenders. Out of this pool, he said, seven were identified by the school board for interviews.

While Lambert focused his attention on the ethical side of the candidates, board President Danny Wheat said he thinks every aspect of the profile is important.

The candidate they’ve selected fits the entire list as closely as can be expected, Wheat said, adding there’s a leadership aspect to the person’s career, and the community aspect is top-notch as well.

Wheat said he just returned from visiting the person’s current community and talked to a number of people. He said he was surprised by what he heard and who he heard it from.

“I interviewed probably 15 or 18 people around the community and not only did they know who the superintendent is, but they would talk,” Wheat said. “They could tell you things. I was surprised.”

Twitter: @TimothyChippARN


(c)2015 the Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas)

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