RRISD board sets characteristics profile for new superintendent

The Round Rock ISD board of trustees has agreed on a list of top characteristics it will be seeking in the district's new superintendent.

The list was compiled by Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of the Educational Consultants and Research Associates Group, the leadership recruitment firm the district hired to assist in the superintendent search. RRISD's current Superintendent Jess Chvez announced his retirement Jan. 30, effective Dec. 31.

During a May 1 board meeting, Rick Berry and Peter Flynn from HYA presented the results of the online survey and the community engagement meetings. Berry said 1,302 people responded to the online survey and dozens attended the community engagement meetings.

Board members, survey respondents and people who attended the meetings ranked the top characteristics they would prefer to have in a superintendent.

During the community engagement meetings, Berry said attendees indicated the district's strengths were high student achievement and graduation rates. Attendees also like the diversity of the district, its fast growth and that it is a destination district for parents and teachers alike. However, they brought up concerns of how the district will continue to serve more socially-economic diverse students and handle limited finances and uncertain state funding. Division among school board members was also mentioned, Berry said.

"Everybody may not agree on everything, but they like this school district," he said. "They are passionate about this school district, staff members, community members, business people, everybody feels like its their school district. They feel like they've got a real stake in it."

Flynn said the firm will ask candidates about their experience with the following characteristics and will also ask references how candidates have exemplified them.

"Nobody is going to meet all of these. You have set a very high standard," Berry said.

The list of the top characteristics for the superintendent profile:

is visionary. Has a clear vision of what is required to provide exemplary educational services and implement effective change.

fosters a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff and administrators

has impeccable integrity

is an excellent communicator who is persuasive, a very good listener and also adept at speaking, writing and making connections with diverse stakeholders, using processes for two-way communication and social media

has demonstrated a proven track record in a district similar to Round Rock ISD

knowledgeable and experienced of business and finance aspects of school administration

approachable, open and receptive

lead as a servant leader in an encouraging, participatory and team-focused manner

has successfully collaborated with various elements of a district community, including staff, faith, government agencies, non-for-profit and businesses

visible on school campuses

listens to and effectively represents the interests and concerns of students, staff, parents and community members

holds a deep understanding of the learning process and of the importance of educational technology

maintains positive and collaborative working relationships with the board and its members

In follow-up to the list, trustees indicated their preference for a candidate with a doctorate degree in a related educational field. They also said the list fits their expectations for a new superintendent.

"We're not looking for perfection; we're looking for excellence" trustee Chad Chadwell said.

Trustee Pauline Law said the consultants have done a phenomenal job listening to the community and have captured the needs and essence of the district.

"I have the utmost confidence based on how you compiled this that you understand what we are looking for," she said.

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and later senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels.


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