The Richmond Register

Local News

May 15, 2013

Board members to include focus group feedback in superintendent search

Madison County Schools


Madison County School Board chair Mona Isaacs said she wanted to make the district’s search for a new superintendent “as transparent as possible.”

To achieve this goal, board members discussed ideas at a special called meeting Wednesday to get the community more involved in picking the district’s next leader.

Superintendent Tommy Floyd will be leaving July 1 for a new position at the Kentucky Department of Education.

“It would be a very good opportunity for us to listen,” Isaacs said. “I think it was abundantly clear Thursday night (at the monthly board meeting) that we’re not listening or that we’re not making those opportunities to listen.”

Isaacs was referring to the May 9 meeting at which a roomful of district staff protested a proposal to cut two contracted work days from the school calendar, effectively slashing pay for every district employee. The proposal died for lack of motion.

“With those teachers coming in a group like that ― we needed to listen,” said board member Becky Coyle.

“I certainly feel like I would be able to make a better decision if I had some people that are in the trenches advising us of what they need,” Isaacs added.

She suggested the board consider feedback from three focus groups: Parents, teachers and classified staff. Each group of 30 to 35 people would consist of two volunteers from each school.

Community members who are not involved with the school system also would have an opportunity to voice their opinion through an online or printed survey, she said.

The focus groups would submit a report, which would be used to develop the charge to the screening committee, she said.

Board members also agreed that their attending the focus groups would deter people from speaking freely.

Isaacs proposed the focus groups meet during the week after the last day of school while teachers and classified staff are still working.

Teacher and classified staff focus groups can meet during the work day and the parent group can meet in the evening, she said.

“This is our opportunity … to have a framework where the board listens to the community and our faculty and our staff,” Isaacs said. “We’ll make a better decision and the next superintendent will have the support of all these people who have an opportunity to tell us what they think.”

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