Danvers School Culture, Communication A goal for the next superintendent
DANVERS, MA — A commitment to improving school culture, addressing equity, inclusion, and racism in schools, and increasing two-way communication with teachers and parents were among the priorities identified for the next superintendent of Danvers as part of the preliminary research process.
Massachusetts Association of School Committee representative Dorothy Presser shared some of the results from 484 respondents to an online survey and 78 who participated in focus groups designed to create metrics for an ideal candidate.
“The bottom line was that the next leader really needs to address the culture of the school and the district,” Presser told the school committee Monday night. “And be a communicator capable of rebuilding that culture.
“Also, someone who had a solid background in the curriculum and teaching who is able to solve some of the academic problems. People wanted to make sure the person had a good experience in the classroom. That it wasn’t someone who was a year in the class and just sort of pulled up. That he’s someone who has a good idea of what it’s like to be a teacher now.
Beyond academic and licensing qualifications, Presser said the “Danvers-specific” aspects of the job objectives to be displayed are: “Excellent communicator capable of creating a culture of trust; a dynamic leadership and communication style, visible , accessible and inclusive; a demonstrated ability to develop and lead a high-performing administrative team; a demonstrated track record in valuing and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among students, staff and the community; success in improving and maintaining high academic achievement; and understanding and recognition of good teaching.”
School committee members Alice Campbell and Robin Doherty worked with Presser and the MASC to develop the focus groups and criteria for an ideal candidate.
“It’s been an eye opener for me in a lot of cases,” Campbell said. “We have a lot of confidence to rebuild from the teachers. But I think we have a lot of opportunities. There was just a lot of optimism, which gave me a lot of hope.”
The steering committee should include two school committee members, the president of the Danvers Teachers Association, three parents, three teachers, one central office staff member, one principal, one support staff member and one community member.
The school committee will choose the parents and a member of the community from among those who apply. The different stakeholder groups will choose their own representatives from among those who apply.
(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)