Austin ISD: How open should the superintendent search be?

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number one priority 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 generally prioritizes the needs of students and their families here in our school district and in our city,” said AISD parent Cuitlahuac Guerra. “Too often the superintendents that come or the ones we’ve had seem to use AISD as a stepping stone into the next part of their careers.”

Some community members have raised concerns that past searches were too closed and hope to see more transparency with this search.

“The lone single finalist is nominated, and we just have to deal with it,” Guerra said. “This is unacceptable, because the process favors the superintendent candidates, not the people, the children, the students.”

In February, the trustees met with GR Recruiting, the firm tasked with helping find the next superintendent. In that meeting, they discussed how open search should be and the pros and cons of having open search.

The AISD moves forward in search of a new overseer

During the meeting, GR Recruiting said that an open search could reduce the candidate pool.

“They think we can get more questions if it’s a closed search,” said trustee Kathryn Whitley-Chu. “The risk of shutting down the process completely is that the community doesn’t feel as involved or they don’t feel as engaged with the person. The person will have a higher level to prove themselves.

More community meetings have been held to get feedback from community members, and this process will continue as the board builds an overseer profile.

“I believe this board can certainly reach a good consensus on the sensitivities of candidates and our obligations and responsibilities to our community,” said trustee Candace Hunter.

According to AISD’s superintendent search history, the district will begin accepting superintendent applications on March 25 and hopes to name a finalist on May 25.

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