Community voices qualities for next superintendent

A thorough understanding of differentiated learning, and a willingness to "rethink" district systems and policies are the most critical leadership qualities for the new Newport-Mesa Unified superintendent, parents and community members said this week.

About 20 community stakeholders gathered Wednesday in Corona del Mar High School's gym to discuss the characteristics and leadership qualities necessary in a new superintendent, the strengths of the district, and its greatest needs and biggest issues.

"Your input is critical and it will be shared," interim Supt. Rob Barbot, who is also heading up the superintendent search process, said to the community members.

An earlier version incorrectly said that the superintendent input meetings for the Corona del Mar High School zone was completed. Meetings have occurred at Rea and Mariners elementary schools and Estancia and Corona del Mar high schools. The meetings at Davis and Newport Coast elementary schools, and Newport Harbor and Costa Mesa high schools haven’t occurred yet.

Human Resources Executive Director John Caldecott instructed residents to write down their thoughts and then put dots next to the statements they thought were most important. School board members Karen Yelsey and Judy Franco were in attendance, along with members of the superintendent selection committee.

For district strengths, maintaining basic-aid status and staying solvent were voted the most important positive attributes from a pool that included dedication to students to ensure they are prepared for life after graduation, quality employees and independence at school sites.

Of the perceived greatest needs, residents want a "school board that geographically and by population equally represents all parts of the district," a district that focuses on the whole child — reading, writing, arithmetic and physical well-being — and makes children prepared to function in a global society.

Barbot is hosting one meeting at one elementary and one high school in each high school zone to explain the superintendent search process and glean the community's feelings on the next district leader.

The district so far has held four meetings at Corona del Mar and Estancia high schools, and Mariners and Rea elementary schools. There are still six meetings left: Newport Harbor and Costa Mesa high schools, and Newport Coast Elementary and Davis Magnet School, as well as one districtwide meeting and another for the District English Learners Advisory Committee.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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