February 13, 2018 10:50:15 AM
By July 1, when the new school year officially begins, the Columbus Municipal School District will have a new Superintendent of Schools.
Given the importance of the superintendent' role, July 1 is a date worth circling on the calendar.
But there are other important days, perhaps equally important, including Feb. 20, March 19 and March 20.
These are dates that we, as citizens and stakeholders, are provided opportunities to play our roles in helping to shape the future of our public education system. Directly, for those who have children in the school system, and indirectly for everyone else, the choosing of a superintendent is not an act, but a process, one that demands all our or attention and participation.
On Feb. 20, the Columbus City Council can make two appointments to the CMSD Board of Trustees, which is an important step in the process of choosing a superintendent since these appointees will vote on who the next superintendent will be.
Before the council determines those appointees, the public has an opportunity to weigh in on their preferred candidates by speaking during the citizens comment portion of the Feb. 20 council meeting. Anyone who wishes to express their preference for a candidate or just wants to offer their views on what qualifications are most important in these appointments, can sign up to speak. We urge citizens to educate themselves on the candidates and take advantage of this opportunity. This paper will provide profiles of each candidate to the best of our ability.
On March 19 and March 20, citizens also have opportunities to share their views on what they expect from the next superintendent. On those dates, the Mississippi School Board Association, which has been hired to put together a pool of superintendent candidates, will hold community meetings to listen to your ideas, field your questions and explain the process. The better the MSBA understands what the community wants in the next superintendent, the better that pool of candidates.
These are three opportunities for citizens to play their roles in this important decision. There will be others as the process moves forward.
We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is for the community to be a part of this process. Safe, successful public schools are the bedrock of any community. How we, as citizens, play our role in choosing the next superintendent will help determine the ultimate success or failure of this process.
We encourage you to attend the city council meeting on Feb. 20 and either of the two MSBA meetings.
It's time for all of us to do our job.