Community discusses new superintendent

More parents and community members this week identified the qualities they want to see in the next Newport-Mesa Unified superintendent.

Integrity, experience, a track record of accomplishments as a district head and advocacy for students and teachers are the most critical leadership qualities, parents and community members said Monday evening.

More than 50 community stakeholders gathered in Costa Mesa High School's library for a community input meeting to list those qualities and identify the district's strengths and weaknesses to help the school board hire the next district leader.

"It's kind of about you tonight," said Charles Hinman, the assistant superintendent of secondary education. He said the meetings are put on "to help you help us, and specifically, help the board identify the qualities you want in the next superintendent."

School board Trustee Katrina Foley, Estancia High School Principal Kirk Bauermeister, Costa Mesa Councilman Steve Mensinger, Costa Mesa CEO Tom Hatch and members of the superintendent selection committee attended.

Monday's meeting brought out the largest crowd yet.

"It's wonderful to see that we have such great parent involvement at Costa Mesa," said Foley, who has children in the Costa Mesa High School zone.

Attendees voted fiscal stability, teachers, campus safety and communication with parents as the district's greatest strengths.

Costa Mesa High School Principal Phil D'Agostino's availability and openness to meet and talk with parents, after-school tutoring, the tutorial program, diversity and discipline also ranked highly.

According to the votes, the district needs to work on: getting more parents involved; equity between the schools; more electives, or A-G classes; more support for sports participation; and focusing on a high expectation for all students (teaching up instead of down).

Community input meetings have already been conducted at six schools, with meetings still left at Newport Harbor High School and Newport Coast Elementary School, as well as one districtwide meeting and another for the District English Learners Advisory Committee.

For the location and time of the meetings, go to

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