I am writing as a concerned parent, community member, and taxpayer. At the School Board meeting on Tuesday, Ed Norcross, the chairperson of the search committee for the new superintendent, stated that although several qualified candidates had applied and been interviewed for the position, he now understood that the process would have been better undertaken with a third party consultant, and thus the search process would start over. Most of the final round candidates had withdrawn after the interviews.
Another board member, Ben Raber, commented that the board was not in agreement on reopening the search and he supports hiring one of the qualified candidates, given that a new pool of qualified and interested candidates is not guaranteed. The decision to re-open the search for a Superintendent after applauding yourselves for the qualified applicants you interviewed is suspect. If there were so many qualified candidates and the board couldn’t retain any of them then what will change with a new pool of candidates?
At the board meeting Mr. Norcross stated he takes the blame for the board not coming to a consensus and not using a third party from the beginning. Is Mr. Norcross qualified to lead the search committee again? Even though this is not the first time he has participated in hiring a district superintendent how did he not recognize the importance of seeking legal or human resources counsel? Mr. Raber stated that it was a concern expressed by several board members from the beginning. Why were the concerns not received and addressed? What is the consequence of this? Will Mr. Norcross step down from the search committee and the board? This suggests incompetence which cannot be fixed by the “honesty and humility” that Mr. Norcross spoke about.
While Kurt Widman, the acting Superintendent, has performed admirably and capably in his role since July 2022, after the previous superintendent was “separated” with little explanation from this School Board, he was apparently passed over. Unfortunately, Mr. Widmann emailed district staff during Mr. Norcross’ comments in the board meeting to notify them he was withdrawing his application for the position. At the community focus groups Mr. Widmann was highly desired by many members of the community requesting to hire someone local who was qualified. This district is too large and actively growing for the school board to be passing over qualified and willing applicants. There are 51 open positions in the district and now the Superintendent candidates are withdrawing. Apparently this board has an issue since qualified candidates do not want to work here. Please do not continue to serve as board members if you are not willing to serve the needs of the children and staff in this district. Please step down instead of continuing to hurt our district by discouraging qualified candidates. School board is not a position for power, politics, or pride.
Signed, Tiffany Shoup, MSW, LSW
Local.News accepts letters to the editor at [email protected] Letters should be under 500 words and must include the writer’s name, address, email address and phone number. Letters should not contain attachments. We may not publish open letters or third-party letters. We reserve the right to edit letters for space, clarity, taste, and to prevent libel. We will not acknowledge receipt of submission.