AUSTIN (KXAN) — Priority number one for the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees is finding a new superintendent, but what will that process look like?
“I want to see someone who is generally prioritizing the needs of students and their families here in our school district and our city,” said AISD parent Cuitlahuac Guerra. “Too often the superintendents that come or the ones we have had seem to be using AISD as a stepping stone to the next part of their career.”
Some community members have raised concerns about past searches being too closed off and are hoping to see more transparency with this search.
“The single lone finalist is named, and we all have to just deal with it,” said Guerra. “That is unacceptable, because the process favors the superintendent candidates, not the people, the children, the students.”
In February, trustees met with GR Recruiting, the firm tasked with helping to find the next superintendent. In that meeting, they discussed how open the search should be and the pros and cons of having an open search.
In the meeting, GR Recruiting said an open search could impact the pool of candidates, with fewer applying because some might not want their current employer to know.
“They think we can get more applications if it is a closed search,” said Trustee Kathryn Whitley-Chu. “The risk of completely closing the process is that the community does not feel as involved or does not feel as committed to the person. The person will have a higher bar to prove themselves.”
Multiple community meetings have been held to get feedback from community members, and this process will continue as the board builds a superintendent profile.
“I believe this board can for sure come to a good consensus on the sensitivity of the candidates and our obligation and responsibility to our community,” said Trustee Candace Hunter.
According to AISD’s superintendent search timeline, the district will begin accepting applications for superintendent on March 25 and hopes to name a finalist on May 25.