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Monroe County community provides input on MCCSC superintendent opening



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Bloomington High School South is one of multiple buildings in the Monroe County Community School Corporation. The school corporation has begun the process of replacing Superintendent Judy Demuth following her upcoming retirement. IDS file photo and Tiantian Zhang

The Monroe County Community School Corporation has begun the process of replacing Superintendent Judy Demuth following her upcoming retirement. Around 20 people attended the Tuesday meeting on the topic. 

They have chosen B.W.P & Associates, a superintendent search firm, to start the search for the next MCCSC superintendent. The group hopes to compile a list of 12-15 superintendent candidates before moving forward in the search. Community members were invited to the digital forum by B.W.P & Associates to share their opinions on what the desired characteristics for the next superintendent are. 

Dr. Ronald Barnes of B.W.P & Associates said he estimates that he has taken part in around 200 superintendent searches. 

“Good things happen for kids when there’s a successful search,” Barnes said. “So we’re committed to make that happen.”

Barnes invited attendees to share their expectations for the future superintendent and any strengths or weaknesses they noticed at MCCSC.

While parents and faculty praised the district for its diversity, said they noticed school populations have been segregated by economic class.

April Hennessey is a mother and former MCCSC teacher. She is currently running for MCCSC School Board. She said she believes the next superintendent must tackle the issue of economic disparity.

“Our district is incredibly diverse,” Hennessey said. “But the economic diversity is incredibly enormous. We need a superintendent that can reach out and who will hear those voices and really unify this district.”

Hennessey also noted the importance of fostering long-lasting relationships with faculty, citing lower teacher retention. Parents and faculty proposed several additions they wanted to see in the coming months, including a simpler MCCSC website and an anonymous feedback system for teachers to report on their superiors. 

MCCSC has begun incorporating social-emotional learning into the curriculum. While attendees approved of the change, they wanted to see a more deliberate reaction to students’ immediate needs, especially during virtual learning. 

“It’s not just an afterthought or something that we just tack on,” Hennessey said.

Rachel Fleishman, a mother of two children at MCCSC, spoke in favor of transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic from the MCCSC administration. She also pushed for collaboration between families and school faculty. 

“We have a lot of parents that have great ideas,” Fleishman said. “A superintendent has to be open to trusting that and considering implementing them in the community.”

In addition, the attendees noted how they want a superintendent who would be open and willing to learn from criticism.

“If you’re in the superintendency to be liked by everyone, you’re in the wrong business,” Barnes said.

Meetings such as these are taken into consideration along with other faculty and board meetings organized by B.W.P & Associates. An electronic survey about the superintendent position was also distributed by MCCSC and collected by midnight Tuesday, Oct. 6.

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