NEW ORLEANS — The next Orleans Parish public schools superintendent must be a strong leader who is honest and accessible, communicates high expectations to schools, can build relationships and understands the city's culture.
The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1fcK8P0 ) that's what six of the school board's seven members said Monday at a congenial five-hour workshop to improve their operations and finally to narrow down priorities for a permanent leader.
Spectators hoped the event would be a reboot for a board that critics said accomplished little in its first year. Superintendent Darryl Kilbert left in June 2012, before three of the current members were elected. The board plans to interview candidates in March and choose a superintendent in April, a month behind schedule.
Consultants from Hazard, Young and Attea ran the workshop on top of the firm's superintendent search contract.
Representatives of the Urban League, Tulane University's Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, the Black Alliance for Education Options and Stand for Children, who sponsored the workshop, told board members they must move forward.
"Personally, I'm just not happy as a parent," said Steven Cole Jr., a member of Stand for Children. "These kids are all we've got," and New Orleans needs a superintendent who cares about them.
"Your role could not be more important to our city than it is now," said Urban League CEO Erika McConduit-Diggs. "We want to see you work together more collaboratively for our community. ... It's that important to us. It's that important to our families. And it's that important to the future of our city."
The nature of that future is something the School Board hasn't codified in a long time. Interim Superintendent Stan Smith said there's been no strategic plan since before Hurricane Katrina changed the School Board's entire charge and role.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com