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Survey to help search for new superintendent
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Gainesville school officials are seeking the public’s input on what qualities community stakeholders deem important in choosing the system’s next superintendent.

A consulting firm helping facilitate the search posted an online survey that anyone in the community can access on the school district’s website.

The survey calls on participants to rate 19 characteristics or qualifications in selecting a superintendent from a pool of candidates. The rating ranges from very important to somewhat important to not very important to not a consideration.

“We’re asking everyone to fill out that survey,” school board Chairman Brett Mercer said at Monday night’s board meeting.

Mercer recently told The Times that the search to replace Superintendent Wanda Creel is the board’s top priority. Creel announced in the fall that she would step down after her three-year contract expires June 30.

Creel’s announcement came amid public fallout over construction plans for a new Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy that does away with the community’s iconic Smartville garden, which was built with the help of volunteers and donations. Creel and board members came under scrutiny when some in the community claimed officials did a poor job communicating of the construction plans to them.

School officials say they will consider the public’s responses to the survey as they proceed through the selection process.

The survey seeks input on such matters as leadership, willingness to listen and make tough decisions, as well as the ability to handle finances, oversee curriculum and instruction, and oversee student achievement.

Mercer said the deadline to apply for the superintendent’s job is Feb. 3. He said the search process will continue at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 18.

“At that time we’ll know more,” Mercer said.

Officials would like to hire a new superintendent by mid-April.