When it comes to one trait of the next superintendent for Iowa Education for Deaf & Blind, 100% of survey respondents agree: being a strong relationship builder is “very important” or “extremely” important.
In late September, the general public and ISD’s stakeholders were offered the chance to express opinions on characteristics and qualities the next superintendent should possess. These opinions could be expressed via public forum, survey or both.
Forty-two individuals responded to the survey. Participants were asked to rank eight leadership qualities on a scale ranging from “not at all important” to “extremely important.” Then, participants could list up to three priorities they believe a new superintendent must address in the first six months on the job as well as explain why they chose those three priorities.
Ninety percent or more of survey respondents agreed the following qualities were very important or extremely important:
- Effective management of administrative team
- Effective communication to internal audiences
- Effective communication to external audiences
- Strategic thinker
- Good at resolving conflicts
- Strong relationship-builder.
Eighty-eight percent indicated it is very important or extremely important for the new superintendent be effective in working with people with diverse backgrounds (ethnically, culturally, economically). Seventy-one percent agreed it is very important or extremely important the new superintendent has experience with budgeting and finances.
Individuals who chose to provide their thoughts in person could do so at one of three public forums offered in Council Bluffs, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. These participants had the additional choice of presenting remotely via Zoom instead of in person. Twenty individuals provided input at the forums. Most of the statements made at the forums included the following themes:
- Strong understanding of special education procedures and IDEA
- Administrative, supervisory experience
- Teaching experience; teaching endorsement of either deaf, blind or both
- Understand deaf or blind education is much more than simply “special education”; so many unique needs for deaf or blind
- Sign (fluently; native/deaf preferred) and interact with deaf students, staff and Deaf community
- Be a visionary, resilient, systemic thinker, problem-solver
- Strong fiscal management
- Able to establish and maintain good relationships with state stakeholders for both deaf and blind
- Provide opportunities for staff development
- Share vision with all staff and stakeholders
- Collaborate with staff and principals
- Understand Deaf culture and community and their challenges
Information from the surveys and forums was used to finalize a position description. A request for proposal has been issued, inviting firms to bid on the recruitment process. This means Iowa Education for Deaf & Blind and the Iowa Department of Education agree to hire a search firm to lead the endeavor by advertising, recruiting and facilitating the interview and selection steps.
The process is scheduled to being in late October or early November. The goal is to offer the position by the end of April with a potential starting date of July 1, 2024.