Michael O'Connor

Michael O'Connor

In the spirit of both transparency and communal input, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will be seeking feedback from the community in its search for a new superintendent. At a Feb. 15 press conference, board president Michael O’Connor said IPS will have three public sessions in which the community can give its thoughts on what it wants to see in the next superintendent before IPS starts taking applications.

O’Connor acknowledged that lack of community input is a common critique of IPS, so this process will allow the board to gain an understanding of what IPS families want in a superintendent before they make a list of potential hires. In addition, the meetings will allow the district to gauge the community’s feelings about IPS in general.

“The state of Indiana five years ago allowed schools to adopt the innovation network process,” O’Connor said. “Only one school system in the state has done so, and that’s us. So as we look for the next superintendent, it’s perfect for us to take input on that path we have chosen.”

There will be three meetings — Feb. 27, March 7 and March 13 — where the public can voice its opinion. While these are the only the dates scheduled, O’Connor noted the possibility of a fourth if the board feels like it is necessary.

Those who cannot make the meetings but still wish to follow the search for a new superintendent can do so online at www.myips.org. IPS is dedicating part of its website to updating the public to the endeavor, calling it the “IPS super search.” There will be an easy-to-spot link to the IPS super search page on the homepage.

O’Connor provided a few other small updates regarding the search for a new superintendent. He reasserted that the search will span the entire country, despite IPS not working with an outside firm to find candidates.

“We have a lot of connections with which we can make this a national search without paying that likely $100,000 fee,” O’Connor said.

Due to how early in the process it is, O’Connor could not comment on the likelihood of interim superintendent Aleesia Johnson becoming the permanent superintendent. However, O’Connor did say he would like to see an application from Johnson when the time comes.

“I would certainly count her as somebody that I hope applies, but since we haven’t opened up the application processes yet I can’t tell you is and who isn’t [likely to apply],” O’Connor said.  

Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

IPS SUPERINTENDENT MEETINGS

1-3 p.m.  Feb 27 at Hawthorne Community Center, 2440 W Ohio St.

6-8 p.m. March 7 at Arsenal Technical High School, 1500 E Michigan St.

6-8 p.m.  March 13 at George Washington Carver Montessori No. 87, 2411 Indianapolis Ave.

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