The public, students, teachers and community will have three ways to give their input into the search for a new superintendent for the Grosse Pointe Public School System.
First, response to a survey circulated by the district has been excellent. That survey runs through March 5. The survey is available on the home page of the school district’s website, gpschools.org.
Second, specific Zoom focus groups will be held next Monday and Tuesday. These groups will include several stakeholder groups, such as teachers, parents, students or community members, among others.
Anyone who wants to be a part of a focus group can email Assistant Superintendent Amanda Matheson at [email protected].
Finally, there will be two at-large focus groups held in the future, times and dates to be named later. One group will be for teachers, a second group will be for community members and anyone can attend their group.
At a special meeting Monday, the board also defined four areas that will be used to help identify potential candidates for the position. The four areas include: strengths of the district, challenges for the district, first-year focus areas for the new superintendent and qualities the new superintendent should have.
Teachers topped the list of strengths and attributes. Parental and community involvement also were identified as district strengths.
“I don’t think there is a more dedicated group of teachers and I think that’s one reason why people want to come here,” Board Treasurer Colleen Worden said.
Declining enrollment was identified at the biggest challenge. Each year there are 200 to 300 fewer kindergarteners than there were high school graduates the previous spring. This issue was aggravated during the pandemic by families who left the district in favor of schools that maintained face-to-face education.
Completing navigating COVID and reaching out to the six communities that are included in the district should be on top of the new superintendent’s to-do list, survey respondents said.
Finally, the board wants the superintendent to be a decision maker. Board Vice President Margaret Weertz said the community is educated, with people in positions of authority.
“You need to have a strong leader who’s going to have a conversation back with people you know are going to challenge them,” Weertz said.
“I need someone who’s really a problem solver, who can say these are our strengths and this is the way we can address the weaknesses we have,” Board President Joseph Herd said.