The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


August 3, 2013

Editorial: ACS board must choose new superintendent wisely

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Felix Chow era at Anderson Community Schools will soon be history, and it's time for the school board to look for a new top administrator.

Chow notified the board Monday that he will retire effective Aug. 30, after having placed the board on notice back in April when he opted out of a contract extension that would have kept him on board with ACS beyond 2014.

The timing of Chow's resignation certainly isn't ideal. The school year will soon be in full swing for ACS students, and the board will have to appoint an interim superintendent, most probably from within the ranks, as it begins searching for a permanent replacement for Chow.

Here are a dozen qualities the board should consider as it seeks a new leader for the school system:

1. Integrity. Without this quality, nothing else really matters.

2. Experience. Chow's past tenure at the helm of schools in Flint, Mich., served him well in helping put ACS's finances in order.

3. Vision. The new superintendent should have an ambitious but practical view of the best possible future for ACS.

4. Communication. The ability to explain the vision and solicit buy-in will be imperative.

5. Energy. To deal with the myriad of responsibilities that fall to a superintendent while being active in the school buildings and in the community takes a great deal of mental and physical gumption.

6. Listening. Too often, superintendents turn a deaf ear to people with grievances and ideas. Parents demand administrators who will listen, really listen, to problems and proposed solutions.

7. Commitment. Superintendents make a lot of money and some have been known to hop from job to job for increasingly better benefits and more prestige. ACS needs a leader who is committed to the school system for five years or more. Chow's tenure, at three and a half years, was a bit short to establish the sort of continuity that is so important to a healthy school system.

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