Pettus school superintendent search continues with questions to posed to the community
by Bill Clough
Apr 25, 2014 | 460 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PETTUS – Although the Pettus Independent School District board has never explained why it fired its superintendent last February—the proceedings being confidential because they occurred in executive session—some of the points of contention can be gleaned from the list of qualifications trustees expect from a new superintendent.

PISD has hired the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Executive Search Services for the headhunting.

As part of the search process, TASB consultants ask students, teachers, administrators and trustees to outline what they are expecting from a new superintendent.

TASB consultants here asked all the groups identical questions:

•What are the strengths of the district?

•What are the weaknesses ?

•What qualities and characteristics are they seeking from a new superintendent?

The trustees got their turn at a special called meeting Monday.

Among the strengths: the small size of the district, combined with an influx of tax revenue from plants associated with Eagle Ford Shale allows PISD to offer competitive pay for teachers and also helps retain them; the historical status of the campus is an asset; students perform better on a smaller campus; the compact size of the district allows it to accomplish more than larger districts, and its size allows a low teacher-student ratio.

Chief concerns listed by the trustees include the difficulty administrators face when hiring; having to grapple with the temptation to re-hire people because they know them, even if they are not qualified; failure to follow up on issues of accountability; a weak teacher evaluation process; and low test scores by students.

Qualifications trustees demand from a new superintendent include:

•High visibility

•Organizational skills

•Ability to work with people

•Experience as a superintendent

•Knowledge of the curriculum

•Knowledge of finance

•A problem solver

•To think out of the box.

•To make correct staffing decisions

•To communicate with the board

•Someone who is willing to stay on the job for years.

Across campus, in the school cafeteria, consultant Craig Stockstill prepared to ask members of the community the same questions.

The board picked the cafeteria for the session based on the large turnout during the meeting when it forced the previous superintendent to resign.

But despite repeated calls then for more communication between the community and the board, no one showed up.

“This isn’t unusual,” Strauss said, who noted that the 6:30 p.m. meeting coincided with numerous Little League games at home and in nearby Tuleta.

Stockstill, sitting alone with his laptop surrounded by empty tables and chairs, decided to wait 15 minutes before calling it a day. PISD Maintenance Director Gary Shaw advised, “If you get anyone to show up you’ll be lucky.”

“If they are not here on time, they’re not coming,” Strauss said.

It was, and they didn’t.

Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at
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