Search firm interviews stakeholders

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 16, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

People in Selma say they want a school leader who can build bridges.

Dr. Sammy Felton and Loe Dunn of McPherson and Jacobson L.L.C., an Omaha, Neb., search firm hired by the Selma School Board, asked members of the community to be honest about what they wanted in the next superintendent of Selma City Schools.

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Other answers were an out-of-the-box thinker, and innovative person, someone who can stand up to opposition, and someone who&8217;s honest and has integrity.

The firm held a string of meetings from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday with students, employees of Selma City Schools, parents, community leaders and the general public.

The community meeting was held in the Vaughan Room at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library and was open to the public.

Felton and Dunn said the community&8217;s input will be presented to the school board and will be used to screen the candidates for superintendent.

Although the school board will select the superintendent from the list of screened candidates, it will handle no applications.

Dunn ensured those taking part in the sessions on Thursday that the firm&8217;s search would not be influenced by anyone.

Those meeting with the firm also said they want a superintendent who can bring racial diversity back in the schools, someone who can build relationships with local businesses, someone who wants to build new schools and who can stand up to local politics.

As the consultants read the qualifications for the superintendent, some community members were concerned with the words &8220;desired characteristics,&8221; as those characteristics are not must-haves. The concern is that some board members may weed out a qualified candidate.

George Needham said he thought the meeting was excellent; it was conducted well and all opinions were heard.

Upcoming open meetings:

June 17 &8212; 6 p.m., Selma-Dallas County Public Library Vaughan Room, shareholders&8217; input shared with school board

July 15 &8212; will present short list of screened applicants to board, venue undecided

July 21-24 &8212; candidate interview process, venue undecided, public can watch only.

Applicants can apply online at by June 23.