Monday, January 18, 2021

Stakeholders Provide Input on OSD Superintendent Search

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The Mississippi School Boards Association hosted several Zoom meetings Tuesday giving administrators, teachers, office staff and parents an opportunity to provide feedback on the selection of the next superintendent for the Oxford School District.

OSD Superintendent Brian Harvey

Current superintendent Brian Harvey announced in the fall that he will be retiring in June. Shortly after, the OSD Board of Trustees took steps to begin the search process for a new superintendent by enlisting the help of the MSBA to host stakeholder meetings and conduct surveys.

The MSBA will be advertising the position nationally. They have met with Board members to establish the criteria and qualifications for the superintendent and have prepared an application and an announcement brochure that is available on the MSBA website.

Denotris Jackson, MSBA executive director and Dr. Tommye Henderson, MSBA Superintendent Search Coordinator, led the meetings Tuesday that started at 11 a.m. for district office staff and ended with the 6 p.m. meeting for parents, students and community members. They met with teachers and administrators during the afternoon.

The cover of the brochure created by the MSBA

Henderson said that even though the brochure outlines some of the qualifications for the new superintendent, the Board still wants input from the community on what they think the Board should consider when doing interviews.

In the Q&A part of the meeting for the community members, parents and students, a commonality among some of the comments was whether there will be an effort to gain a diverse group of applicants.

“We send the brochure to every principal and administrator that is in our database. That’s not something that we can control, but we do send this out to everyone,” Jackson said.

Some questions focused on whether candidates will be asked about their views on 4×4 class blocks and standards-based grading versus a classic grade scale.

“These are Board interview questions,” Jackson said. “But we’ve heard these questions often today. We will do a different type of interview. Ours is more skills-based to see if they have the skills for the job. And then your Board will actually be doing the interviews to see if the candidate is a good fit for the Oxford School District.”

Henderson said one reason the Board left off whether candidates have experience with things like standard-based grading systems was that the Board members want to see if the candidates have taken time to learn about Oxford.

“They didn’t want to reveal that in the brochure because they want to see who takes the time to research the district and its programs and policies,” Henderson said.

Jackson said that while the position is being advertised nationally, local and state candidates are all welcome to apply.

MSBA will provide a report to the Board after reviewing applications and then set up times for the trustees to interview the applicants.

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 5.

For more information on how to apply for the superintendent position or the qualifications and criteria needed to apply, visit the MSBA website.