LISD seeking community feedback in superintendent search

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

As Leander ISD searches for a new superintendent of schools, it is reaching out to the community for feedback in the process through a focus group and a survey, which will conclude on Thursday, Jun. 23.

The Board of Trustees is seeking a person who will continue to lead LISD into the future, building upon its successes and using its strengths.

LISD emailed a “Superintendent Survey” link last week on Jun. 16 for those in the district to take. The survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, is also on the website. The survey feedback will be used to determine the criteria for selecting the next LISD superintendent.

Veronica Sopher, LISD spokesperson, said the survey response is going well so far. She said they will use the information on however many responses they get. They are hoping for a good turn out but do not know what to expect on how many will be completed, knowing many are gone on trips and also due to how long the survey is open.

“We’re looking for quality over quantity and honest feedback. We have some open-ended feedback opportunities as well,” Sopher said.

A focus group has also been formed and started meeting this month.

“The search firm asked each board members to come up with names of community members, staff and students to form a focus group,” Sopher said.

Thompson & Horton is conducting the LISD superintendent search. If all goes as planned, candidates will be narrowed down by the end of June and the first round of interviews will be Jul. 12 and 13.

As these searches usually go, the candidate list gets shorter and the top candidates will be brought back after the first round of interviews. There will be site visits, criminal background checks, etc., Sopher said.

The hope is to have a lone candidate named before school starts or close to the start of school in late August, Sopher said. There is always a 21 day public comment period before a contract can be signed.

A superintendent is the educational leader and chief executive officer of a district. In LISD, he or she will be responsible for more than 37,000 students, more than 4,000 employees, the daily operations of 41 campuses, and the overall district success.

These duties include, but are not limited to:
• Planning, organizing, operating, supervising, and evaluating the educational programs, services, and facilities of a district,
• Assigning, supervising, and evaluating all personnel,
• Overseeing compliance with the standards for school facilities,
• Preparing and submitting a proposed budget to the board,
• Administering the budget,
• Ensuring the development, adoption, and enforcement of a “Student Code of Conduct” and other student disciplinary rules and procedures, as necessary,
• Providing joint leadership with the board to ensure the responsibilities of the board and superintendent team are carried out.

Additionally, the superintendent will work with the board to:
• Advocate for the high achievement of all district students,
• Create and support connections with community organizations to develop community-wide support for the high achievement of all district students,
• Provide educational leadership for the district, including leadership in developing the district vision statement and long-range educational plan,
• Establish district-wide policies and annual goals tied directly to the district’s vision statement and long-range educational plan,
• Support the professional development of principals, teachers, and other staff members,
• Periodically evaluate board and superintendent leadership, governance and teamwork.

“With these duties and responsibilities in mind, we need your thoughtful and candid input into this process,” the LISD board said in its email with the survey link. “In LISD, feedback is an important part of our processes and we value your time. We want your voice to be part of our search to find the best superintendent for our district.”

The district is keeping the community abreast of the search with a “Superintendent Search” tab on the website, updated with the latest information.