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Columbus superintendent search begins

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 5/12/2014 10:36 pm
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - The search begins for a new superintendent in the Columbus School District, almost a year after former superintendent Martha Liddell was fired.

On Monday, a consultant group, Ray and Associates; an Iowa-based firm, asked the community what they'd like to see with the new hire.

They have also allowed district employees and the public the option of filling out an online survey to help narrow the candidate pool.

When it comes to investing in the school district, Jannette Adams is someone that comes to mind.

She sat on the school board for 10 years, her children graduated from the district and she still works in it.

During all these years, she's seen at least five superintendents come and go, and now, she and many others in the community are ready for a change.

"I want this next person to be a healer," said Adams, who now serves as the Grant and Special Services Coordinator. "I need this next person to be a listener and communicator. This person must be a team-builder."

The consultant group held three meetings on Monday, including two for district employees and one for parents and students.

Naturally, many said they want someone with good leadership, one that can improve safety and test scores and one that can move the district forward.

But many see one major problem, one they said must be addressed.

"I have not felt, lately, that this district has had a great cohesiveness where we're all working towards the same thing," said Lori Pierce, who has three children in the district. "There seems to be a little more splintering going on."

The common theme most search for is stability. For Adams, that means someone that will invest years in the district.

"They need to want to stay here for at least three to five years to see the results they produce," Adams explained.

But Pierce said she doesn't care how long they stay. Stability to her means the person won't change everything at a drop of the hat.

"What I don't want is the superintendent to come in and change the course of where we are going because we have great parents, great teachers and great administrators," Pierce said.

The consultants will continue collecting feedback on Tuesday at the district office.

Parents are also encouraged to take the online survey to help the search process.

The consultants and school board hope to have a new superintendent by the end of June.

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