Residents wanting a say in who the district chooses to replace former Superintendent Bob Morrison can weigh in at a series of upcoming public forums.A district-commissioned consultant is hosting the meetings to gather suggestions on the type of leader the district should pursue and the kind of school programs that will best suit the needs of students.The district also launched an online survey last week that will allow residents to write their suggestions in detail, through May 3.What were trying to do is is fine-tune what we want the direction of the district be, said School Board President Beth Light. Once the community forums and online survey are completed, then we will look at what type of person will meet our needs.The district already has one candidate Jim Vaszauskas, Morrison's associate superintendent, who has been serving as interim superintendent since Morrison left in January to become top administrator of the Garland school district. Vaszauskas didn't ask for special consideration, board members said.He even encouraged us to talk to the community and look around and do whats best for the school district, said trustee Raul Gonzalez.The consultant, Cambridge Strategic Services of Plano, which last year also helped the district create its current five-year strategic plan, hosted two lightly attended forums last week.The next two for the public will be Monday and Tuesday. Separate forums are scheduled for students and staff.The forums will have no detailed presentations. Instead, participants will be asked what skills and character traits they believe are most important in a superintendent, give their opinions on what school programs and initiatives are working and should be kept, which are ineffective and should be stopped, and which new ones should be adopted.Were not going in with any topics, Light said. Were letting the audience bring the topics.After the forums and survey, Cambridge will report its results and analysis to the board May 28, said district spokesman Richie Escovedo. Trustees then will begin interviewing for a search firm that will round up candidates for the board to interview.Light and Gonzalez said that while completing the process before the start of the school year in August would be ideal, it more than likely will continue through December.Gonzales said only two people attended the first forum.I was kind of disappointed. Its not just that were giving them a chance, he said. We're doing this for a reason -- It's important that we hear from the community. Weve got to get this right, because the most important job we have is to hire and fire the superintendent. Were talking about the future of our kids. We need to hear ideas and solutions.
Public forums will be held:
7-9 p.m. Monday, April 29, at Alice Ponder Elementary School, 102 Pleasant Ridge Drive.
7-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Danny Jones Middle School, 4500 E. Broad St.
Residents also can participate in an online survey on the district’s website, www.mansfieldisd.org, which will include space for detailed written comments.
Questions about the forums or search process can be directed by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to the district’s communications department at (817) 299-6345.