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Residents having say in Manchester super search

7/3/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

NEW FRANKLIN — Residents living in the Manchester Local School District voiced their opinions of what characteristics are needed for a new district superintendent at a special Board of Education meeting June 30.

Superintendent Sam Reynolds, who has led the district for the past 10 years, is retiring Aug. 31 after working 44 years in the district.

Linda Fuline, superintendent of the Summit County Educational Service Center (ESC), is facilitating the search for a new superintendent at no cost to the district. The board voted to select Fuline to lead the search at the June 17 meeting.

“I am assisting with the replacement of Sam Reynolds, who has an awful lot of respect among superintendents in the county and in the state,” Fuline said at the meeting with approximately 80 people. “He is a man of integrity and is someone we’ll miss when he retires.”

The board has received 13 applications for the superintendent position, which is open until July 11.

The ESC will compile all the characteristics listed by residents at the special meeting for the board and will share their results in a presentation at the next regular board meeting July 8, said Fuline. A screening committee has been formed with seven members, she said. Two board members; a representative from the administration, the Manchester Education Association and the classified workers union; along with two people from the ESC will serve on the screening committee.

This committee will screen the candidates, and the board members will conduct interviews and hire the new superintendent, said Fuline.

“Hopefully we will hire a candidate before school starts,” Fuline said.

At the meeting, the community members broke into four small groups and shared the characteristics they consider to be the most important for a new superintendent. The ESC staff facilitated each group. Residents were able to vote on which attributes they felt were most important and each group shared what they had discussed.

“It is a critical time in our community to find someone to help us move forward,” said Susan Gunter, who lives in the district. “We expect an awful lot from the person who leads our school district.”

Some of the characteristics the groups listed include: someone who supports and trusts current staff, prioritizes safety, is involved with the community, acknowledges and respects the arts, understands special education and gifted programs, leads by example and cares about the Manchester community and its traditions. Several groups also listed an internal candidate should be a priority.

“It is very important for the community to have the opportunity to express their feelings of what they want to see in the next superintendent,” said Fuline.

Melissa Habowski, director of human resources for the ESC, told the residents their input is vital for the superintendent search.

“This community is very committed and this process is a good one to get a great superintendent to carry on the traditions,” Habowski said.

“Mr. Reynolds has big shoes to fill, and he’s an amazing man,” added Jill Grizer, who lives in the district. “It’s good for the community to be involved to make sure the right decision is made.”

At a special meeting earlier on June 30 to finalize fiscal year-end reports, the board approved the transfers necessary to balance the budget for the 2013-14 school year. The board also heard a first reading to approve the procedure for the destruction of records.

The next meeting is set for July 8 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 114 at Manchester High School, 437 W. Nimisila Road.

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