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Schools seek public input

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By The Staff

The first meeting of the Los Alamos Public School’s search for a new superintendent met with a small turnout Thursday evening.The meeting was facilitated by Brian Cook, of Iris Learning of Albuquerque.“Your superintendent is a very significant and influential community leader,” Cook said. “She/he is responsible for the administration of a 50 million dollar budget, instructional and staff leadership, the stewardship of facilities and collaboration with community partners.”Los Alamos School Board members Steve Girrens, Allison Beckman and Ken Johnson were on hand to listen to community input from those in attendance.The hour-long session looked at several issues that will face an incoming superintendent and revolved around two major questions for input.“Looking ahead to 2008-1010 what will be the most significant challenge the new superintendent will face?” and “What qualifications, skills and experiences do you believe the next superintendent will need to succeed?”These questions, which will also be posed Monday evening, will aid a 35-member advisory committee that will meet in January.“We’re asking for input on the important criteria to consider – this is the district spokesperson,” Girrens said.“She/he sets the tone or culture for the whole school district,” Beckman added.The advisory committee will be comprised of three school principals, a teacher from each site, the business manager, community members and more. Each school board member will nominate two people to serve on the advisory committee, which will review all of the applications and make a recommendation to the school board. Beckman said the group will start looking at input in January.“We’d like to have input before we’re presented with a list of people,” Johnson said.As of Thursday, 12 application packets had been requested from LAPS, with a final date for applications scheduled for Feb. 12. The board hopes to have a list of potential candidates in late March with plans to interview in early April or soon after the spring break holiday. The start date for a new superintendent is slated for a July 1 start date.“The community should embrace and care about its schools,” Girrens said.Cook praised the group for having a community with “constructively engaged parents,” and also praised the school board for its “continuity and stability,” despite its members’ differences.Cook and school board members will reconvene after the holidays to gather community input on the superintendent search.