Long wish list for Pittsburgh Public Schools chief made
Community leaders and parents have a long wish list when it comes to the qualifications and qualities of the next city schools superintendent.
They want someone with experience in the classroom and in an urban school district who is fiscally responsible and will listen to the community and reduce the racial academic achievement gap.
“We need someone who knows how to manage change,” said James Stewart, who serves on an advisory board working to reduce the achievement gap in the district.
Stewart was among about 90 people who attended an A+ Schools meeting Thursday night at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Hill District to share their ideas about what qualifications and qualities are important in the next Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent and what the priorities should be. The information gathered will be shared with the school board members.
The Black Political Empowerment Project and the Urban League of Pittsburgh co-sponsored the meeting.
A+ Schools used an electronic polling system so everyone could see the consensus around the room after smaller group discussions. The options used were gathered from an online survey A+ Schools conducted about the superintendent search.
Superintendent Mark Roosevelt is leaving at the end of the year to become president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Many people expressed a desire for the next superintendent to build student and neighborhood morale by bringing all sectors of the community — like parents, colleges, businesses and service groups — together for the benefit of students.
However, they believe the superintendent’s top priorities should be continuing efforts to promote teacher excellence, reduce the racial achievement gap and provide support and instruction based on students’ needs.
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based advocate for urban school districts, spoke before the discussion. He said the meeting is a good start.
“The secret to (successful) searches is the community and the board to be clear about what they want, the direction they want to go in, the process they want to follow and then following that process and being transparent about it,” Casserly said.