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Advertising begins for new leader of Halifax schools

Halifax County school system officials began the process Friday of advertising for a new school superintendent.

An advertisement was sent Friday morning to Virginia School Board Association officials, with local school system officials also posting the advertisement on the school system’s website.

A March 23 deadline has been set for submitting applications for the position.

Late Thursday afternoon the Halifax County School Board unanimously approved a list of qualifications it was seeking in the new school superintendent, many of which mirrored a set of qualifications that appeared on the school system’s advertisement for a school superintendent in 2004.

Those qualifications and a couple of additional ones included in the approved draft mirrored the wishes of respondents to a recent school system survey that was made available to the public including school system employees.

The added qualifications included the candidate being familiar with Virginia law and Virginia’s Standards of Learning as well as having a successful background in securing grant funding.

The qualifications portion of the advertisement is as follows:

• To be considered for this position, candidates must be on Virginia’s Superintendent Eligibility List or meet the qualifications for the Eligibility List.

• An earned doctorate is preferred but not required.

• The candidate should have prior experience as a superintendent or central office administrator.  Desired background should also include experience as a principal and teacher.

• The candidate should be an organized, motivated leader who possesses team-building skills and is capable of shared decision-making.

• The candidate should be familiar with Virginia law and Virginia’s Standards of Learning as well as the process of curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.

• The candidate must understand the differences between policy and administration and act accordingly, possess expertise in leading the board in goal-setting and planning and be willing to assume a lead role in decision-making while keeping the board informed.

• The candidate must demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to create an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect and open communication among school constituents and the public.

• The candidate must be an effective advocate of school issues and demonstrate an ability to respond to individual and group concerns in an appropriate manner.

• The candidate must demonstrate an in-depth understanding and expertise in the preparation and management of budgets, finance, curriculum and instruction and must demonstrate the ability to effect school reform.

• The candidate must have a successful background in securing grant funding from state, federal and private foundations.

• The candidate should possess experience and a successful record in handling disciplinary and behavioral-related problems within a school system.

The Superintendent Survey results showed that just over 7,402 surveys were distributed, with only 433 being returned, yielding a return rate of 5.85 percent.

A total of 163 parents responded to the survey, and a total of 112 teachers responded. Eighty-seven school system employees responded.

ED 7 school board representative R. E. “Dick” Stoneman, who reviewed the survey results with the school board, said the survey was useful in generating the list of qualifications contained in the advertisement.

“We were hoping we would have more response,” Stoneman said, referring to the low 5.8 percent return rate.

“It was a great guideline. We took every response into consideration. We had to change some of the wording a little bit, but we stayed as close as we could. I was very satisfied with the way it turned out.”