Firm gathers Brandywine opinions

Published 3:13 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine Public Schools and the Michigan Leadership Institute began the initial phases of their superintendent search with two public input meetings on Wednesday.
The school district has brought in the Michigan Leadership Institute to assist in the hiring process.
After spending the day receiving input from staff and students, Michigan Leadership Institute Regional President Thomas Pridgeon held information gathering meetings for concerned community members at 4:30 and 7 p.m. in the Brandywine High School library.
The information that Pridgeon collects from the sessions will be used to create a candidate profile for the position.
Pridgeon explained the profile will allow them to narrow the applicants down to candidates who meet the qualifications and characteristics that the community is looking for.
Only five community members were able to attend the 4:30 meeting, but they were able to provide some important opinions regarding the future superintendent.
Each person in attendance received a sheet that was split up into two sections. One section asked them to list the skills, abilities and characteristics they would like in a superintendent and the other asked for the positive attributes of Brandywine Public Schools and the community of Niles.
Pridgeon began the input session by asking the public what their priorities were for a new superintendent.
One of the community members in attendance said they were looking for someone like interim Superintendent Gary Campbell and inquired about the possibility of him coming out of retirement.
This possibility seemed unlikely and they moved on to suggest important characteristics such as a good personality, good communication skills, self-confidence, being approachable and being a student advocate.
Another concern that was voiced was the willingness of a candidate to stay in a small district.
The other type of information Pridgeon was seeking was the positive attributes of the community or the "points of pride."
Community members pointed out it was very nice community that is continuing to improve.
They also mentioned the fine arts, special education, dedicated coaches, teachers and an excellent school board as some of the strong points of the district.
Pridgeon will submit the results from the meetings to the school board and from that they will create a candidate profile.
There will be an open interview of the first round of candidates on March 22, 24 and 25 at 6 and 8 p.m. in the Brandywine High School library. The second round will take place in the library on March 29 and 31 at 7 p.m.
Pridgeon said the final decision for a superintendent should be made on April 19.