School board close to hiring new superintendent

SALISBURY — The school board is in the final stages of choosing the next superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

Chairman Richard Miller said the board hopes to announce the new hire by the end of the month - possibly on its original target date of Aug. 26.

On Friday, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education met in closed session most of the day Friday to conduct interviews with its final candidates. It’s not clear how many applicants made it to this round.

Miller said that the board is now done with the interview process, but he wouldn’t say much more.

“The next step is consulting with an attorney to decide if we have enough data for finalizing our decision and starting to negotiate,” Miller said. “We still hope by the end of the month that we’ll have an announcement to make.”

Other board members did not return calls for comment on Friday and Monday.

The school system’s current superintendent, Dr. Judy Grissom, announced in the spring that she plans to retire Sept. 30.

The Board of Education began its search process in early April, starting with the creation of a job listing and application form. It then sought outside opinions through a public forum and community and staff surveys.

The board has been conducting its search through the N.C. School Boards Association, which advertised the position and collected applications.

In June, board members held a brainstorm session after Grissom was excused from an open meeting. They discussed the survey results, and each of them shared traits and skills they would like to see in the next superintendent. The N.C. School Boards Association later put together a “leadership profile” based on those qualities.

The board has said it would evaluate the candidates using a combination of that leadership profile and the North Carolina Superintendent Evaluation Rubric.

The rest of the process has taken place in private. Board members sifted through applications on their own before meeting in closed session to decide who to interview. For the second round, they narrowed the pool of candidates even further.

In the board’s public discussions of the next superintendent, members listed a variety of qualities and experience they would like to see. Common themes included someone who isn’t intimidated by controversy or differing opinions, who has great people skills and who can communicate well with other government bodies and the public.

On the community survey, the top-ranked trait was somebody who “knows how to get staff, students, parents and (the) community to work together to help children learn.”

Staff members ranked somebody who “has strong human relations or ‘people skills’” at the top of their survey.

Both of those answers were in the top five for both, along with “understands how to provide safe environments for students and staff” and “understands how to effectively advocate for resources needed to operate the schools.”

Community members also said they want a person who “understands school finance, budgets and business management,” while staff said they want a person who “has been an effective classroom teacher.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

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