Students and teachers looking for integrity and innovation in search for new superintendent

Published 12:56 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) conducted three different sets of surveys to different groups to get community input in its search for a replacement for Superintendent Chad Shealy, who is set to retire in late April.

The three questionnaires, given through the website, were intended to gauge the qualities that people value in a superintendent. The surveys were available to participants between March 2 and March 7. One, reported on by the Vicksburg Post in a previous article, was open to any parents and community members who would like to give their thoughts on the matter.

Kimble Slaton is the president of the VWSD Board of Trustees, which is in charge of searching for and hiring candidates for the position.

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“The ThoughtExchange feedback is important because it gives a voice to our stakeholders, and they are likely to have insights that the board hasn’t considered,” Slaton said. “Their input is important as we make a decision about our next leader.”

The other two surveys were given to students from seventh through 12th grade and to VWSD employees. Participants anonymously offered their own thoughts and then were asked to rate other thoughts on a 5-star system.

The results indicated that aptitudes for innovation, patience, and integrity were highly valued by both groups of participants.

Some of the top-ranking comments from the 171 students who took the survey were:

“I believe that our next superintendent should be patient, open-minded, and innovative. We need leaders that care about students rather than dismiss us. We need better leaders that will bring more life into our schools. We are on the same path from 20 years ago. We need new beginnings and inspiration.”

“Our next superintendent should be creative and bring innovation and life back into our school. We need better classes that are educational and fun. Creative classes can benefit students long term. For example, French and dance classes would be nice for students as it’s fun and educational.”

“Patience, a want for the children to succeed, and active ears meaning they take into consideration students’ request/feedback.”

Some of the top-ranking comments from the 318 district employees who took the survey were:

“Dedication. Our new superintendent needs to be someone who has been in the classroom and can relate to the teachers. Also, someone is passionate about the kids.”

“Excellent Communicator, Relationship Builder, Think Critically, Make Sound and Swift Decisions, Visionary Leader, and the Ability to Solve Problems. We need an innovative leader who values transparency; an inspirational leader who is accountable and bases decisions on what is best for students.”

“Experience in unbiased leadership with goals of continuing the district improvements at all levels. It is important to be unbiased to all staff members regardless of title or entitlement.”

Last week, the job opening for the new VWSD superintendent was posted on the Mississippi School Board Association website. The deadline for applications will be April 5.