Input from survey will guide questioning for MFL MarMac superintendent candidates

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Input from a recent MFL MarMac Community School District stakeholder survey will help guide questioning for superintendent candidates.


Roger Wilcox of Grundmeyer Leader Services, a firm the district has engaged to help replace retiring superintendent Dale Crozier, shared survey data during a special school board meeting Nov. 30.


According to the report, 143 people responded to the survey between Nov. 3 and 13, offering feedback on district strengths and weaknesses as well as their desired qualifications in a new superintendent. Of those respondents, 46 were parents or guardians, 33 were teachers and 31 students.


Perceived strengths for those who filled out the survey were strong communication, strong extracurriculars and student involvement, focus on student achievement and caring and dedicated staff. 


“That’s always a really positive thing,” said Wilcox. “Potential candidates who are applying for these jobs, they like to see this kind of comment because they want to know what they’re getting into. They can look at the stakeholder survey and say, ‘Hey, maybe this is a place I want to work.’”


Among the current challenges listed, staff retention and recruitment was number one, followed by staff compensation.


Wilcox stressed this isn’t isolated to MFL MarMac.


“But there could be some challenges versus somebody in Ankeny, we’ll say,” he added.


Additional challenges included student emotional support, low enrollment numbers and outdated facilities. Wilcox noted the district is working on the latter, in reference to the current elementary addition project.


Overcoming those challenges was reflected in respondents’ input on important professional skills and qualifications. 


“Because [staff retention and recruitment] came out so much, one of the professional skills people wanted is recruiting, retaining and supporting staff. Sixty-four respondents said that,” said Wilcox.


A strong second, with 59 responses, was effectively manages district resources. That was followed by builds school and community relations and strong instructional leader.


The top personal trait or quality respondents want is for the new superintendent to be approachable, accessible and welcoming. Seventy percent, or 99 people, selected that. Another 39 percent chose follows through on tasks and responsibilities and 35 percent said brings out the success in others. Respectively tied at 30 percent were demonstrates ethics and integrity, demonstrates collaborative leadership and possesses strong communication skills. 


The final question asked stakeholders their advice for the next MFL MarMac superintendent to be successful. Examples included “Be open to suggestions from staff. Staff are the ones on the ground doing the work and often have good suggestions for how to be more effective and efficient in their roles,” and “Reach out and get to know the students and be willing to help them if you can. Let the students get to know you as well.”


One person said, “Get to know the community as fast as possible. Find out quickly why this district is so successful compared to others. Have a vision of the next steps this district needs to make in order for MFL MarMac to be an elite district in the area.”


“It’s a good read. Some are a little out there, but for the most part people were really serious when they filled out the survey,” Wilcox said. “We have that whole response sheet so that, when the new superintendent is hired, we share that with them so they get an idea of the spectrum of comments of people at MFL MarMac.”


After sharing the report, Wilcox asked if school board members felt the results were indicative of their feelings, or if their were other areas they hoped to prioritize.


Board vice president Roberta Hass suggested a greater emphasis on the ability to lead MFL MarMac financially.


President Gina Roys agreed. “Dale has done a good job of putting us in a good position financially, where most schools are not. We don’t want to lose that.”


Otherwise, Roys was pleased with the results.


“It stayed within the strategic plan as well as where the board is at. That made me feel good that we’re in the right direction,” she said.


“That you’re reflective of what the community wants and the community is reflective of what you want is amazing,” Wilcox added.


According to Wilcox, Grundmeyer Leader Services will take these professional and personal characteristics to develop a set of questions that, with board approval, will be used in both screening and final interviews.


“We can only ask so many questions, so what we like to do is take the top four or five in each category and develop questions around those,” he explained.


The application period for the MFL MarMac superintendent position will close this week. Four individuals had applied as of the Nov. 30 meeting, an amount board members hoped would be higher.


“This year is extremely slow as far as people filling out the forms. Hopefully, more are thinking about it too,” Wilcox said.


The board plans to review potential candidates Dec. 12, screen candidates Dec. 19 and conduct full interviews Jan. 16.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet