Austin ISD officials are seeking the community's input on what qualities they would like to see in the next superintendent.
"We need your thoughtful and candid input into this process in order to ensure that the voice of our community is part of our search to find the best superintendent for our district," said Gloria Davis, lead associate with GR Recruiting—the search firm hired by the district to find the next superintendent—during a town hall meeting March 7 at Webb Middle School.
Throughout the week, the district has offered town halls to community members, who discussed topics such as the challenges AISD currently faces and what they want to see in a new superintendent. Those attending brought up challenges they want the new superintendent to address such as special education and disability evaluations, saying the district is not where it should be at this point.
"The problem is that we do not have the support," said Sandra Flores, a teacher at Webb Middle School. "We don't have individuals, adults, teachers that we so desperately need. It's across the board, really, we just do not have enough teachers, security guards and counselors."
Some of the qualities sought in a new superintendent mentioned by the community during the town hall meeting included being present, doing whatever it takes to be successful, equity, resilience, a role model and someone who is solution-oriented.
The next town hall will be March 8 from 6-7 p.m. at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, 2309 Panther Trail, Austin. For those who can not make it to the in-person meetings, an online survey has been created where community members can share their input through March 15. The online survey takes between 5-10 minutes to complete and is confidential, Davis said.
After the town halls are completed and surveys are gathered, GR Recruiting will put together a profile over the next several weeks, the district said.
AISD lost its previous superintendent, Stephanie Elizalde, who left the district for Dallas ISD in June of 2022. After her resignation, the district named as interim superintendent Anthony Mays, who left AISD for a Houston-area school district in December. Matias Segura was named interim superintendent in January; however, he is not allowed to apply for the permanent superintendent position.
"When they advertised for an interim, they wanted someone who would come in and not be considered as a candidate because that could be a deterrent to other potential candidates," Davis said.
Davis said potential candidates usually will not apply for the position if they know the interim is also a candidate because the interim is looked upon as a "shoe-in."
"We will share the information that we have gathered with the board of trustees around March 22," Davis said. "After March 22, we will advertise for about a month while recruiting and receiving applications."
Around the end of May, trustees will select five to seven semifinalists who will be interviewed in person, Davis said.
"We're looking for sitting superintendents, people who are doing the job that the community is looking for," Davis said. "We plan to hire the finalist to begin working on July 1."