The district's hopes are that the forum will help define the new superintendent's characteristics and traits, to fit in not only with the school board, but with the teaching staff, district support workers and the two communities the new superintendent will serve.
"The board hopes to see a large turnout of interested citizens willing to help them select just the right person for a job that is so important to the community and especially its youngsters," said Kathryn Slightam, BUSD trustee.
Meyer agrees that holding a community forum to help establish a profile for his replacement is a good idea, but said it is a process he will not be involved in. "This forum is just one of several steps the board will take to reach out to the community," Meyer said.
The forum will be facilitated by Consultant Jake Abbott of Leadership Associates. The use of a search consultant is a standard practice school boards employ to help them sort out likely candidates for interview. Leadership Associates has assisted school boards in their selection of superintendents in over 130 California school districts and organizations since 1994. They have also assisted other educational organizations in the selection of their executive leaders.
Abbott's consulting credentials include service as a school superintendent on several occasions, membership of administrative advisory boards and awards for administrative excellence. His approach to the forum will be to open it up to citizen ideas, encourage discussion and record comments for a later report. "The more forum attendees participate, the more productive the forum will be," Abbott said.
Like the school board, he hopes to see a large turnout.
In addition to this first community outreach, Slightam said there would be separate sessions for all stakeholders, including union representatives, Parent Teacher Associations, SEED (Seeking Excellence in Educational Development) Foundation, staff and management teams, community leaders and others who will interface with the new superintendent.