From Our School Community
The Decatur Public Schools Board of Education has initiated its search for a new superintendent of schools. To assist in this important process, the Board retained the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA). They specialize in assisting boards with the identification and selection of candidates, after hearing from all stakeholder groups in the community.
Throughout early September, HYA hosted focus groups, individual meetings, and virtual forums to gather community input and feedback.
HYA talked with nearly 200 stakeholders in two open forums, 15 focus groups, and 16 individual interviews, all of which were highly interactive, with many lasting more than an hour, illustrating exceptional engagement. HYA's survey gathered 1,089 responses from the following groups:
- 318 parents
- 264 teachers and certificated staff members
- 120 support staff members
- 40 administrators
- 179 students
- 168 taxpayers without children currently in school
- 873 individual written comments
HYA's five big take-aways from this engagement with our community — the new Superintendent must:
- Effectively address issues related to Decatur’s “reputation”
- Instill trust and mutual respect among disparate voices with conflicting viewpoints
- Authentically and meaningfully connect with all stakeholders; communicate frequently, clearly, thoughtfully; and listen and observe actively and deeply
- Commit to staying for the long haul
- First understand both the history and current conditions of the community and then build relationships, create collaborative consensus, and move the district forward with a shared aspirational and achievable vision
HYA will now compile all of that feedback and prepare a Leadership Profile Report that will be presented to the Board and our school community in late September.
For Prospective Candidates
Decatur Public Schools District #61 (DPS) is seeking an accomplished, energetic, equity focused leader to be the district’s next superintendent. Located in Central Illinois within easy driving distance of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, this outstanding district serves approximately 8,400 students. DPS has one pre-kindergarten/early learning center, five K-6 elementary schools, five K-8 schools, one middle school, two high schools, and a K-12 alternative education program as well as a social-emotional alternative program. Three of the facilities are magnet schools, including a PK-8 Montessori school, a fine arts program, and a STEM academy. The District is also the administrative agent for the Macon-Piatt Special Education District. DPS is a diverse district: 54% of students are African American, 36% are White, and 4% are Hispanic. Approximately 70% are identified as students from low-income families.
Decatur has a long and proud history dating to 1865 and combines elements or urban, rural, and suburban environments. In addition to both an industrial and agricultural base, Decatur has fabulous restaurants, cultural events, and a generous philanthropic community which actively supports the schools. The community is clearly connected to classrooms, alumni are proud of their hometown, and business and civic partners are deeply vested in student success.
Decatur Public Schools has made its mission to educate all students for lifelong success. Their vision is that all students will become responsible, caring, and productive citizens of society in a setting where: students, parents, staff, and community members share responsibility; district leadership motivates people, policies, and decisions; and all resources are used effectively and efficiently. DPS is financially sound and provides abundant academic and extracurricular opportunities for all students to prepare them well for post-secondary success.
The District’s next leader must have high expectations for all students and value student, staff, and community voice in education, as well as have the ability to rebuild and sustain a culture of trust, respect, and transparency.
Applicants should submit the following via email to HYA’s president, Max McGee, email@example.com and copy Constance Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include DPS 61 SEARCH in the subject line:
- Full resume
- Cover letter stating why they are seeking the job and why they will be an excellent fit for the district
- Full contact information for three references
- A one page written response to each of the following prompts:
1) Describe a specific accomplishment or contribution you have made to your current district that resulted in tangible, positive outcomes for students and/or staff
2) Share a relevant leadership experience in creating, repairing, and/or fostering a culture of trust, transparency, and mutual respect
Applications are due on or before October 24, 2021.