Leadership Profile Report

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1 Leadership Profile Report April 24, 2014 HYA Executive Search Division, ECRA Group, Inc

2 Introduction This report presents the findings of the Leadership Profile Assessment conducted by (HYA) in March and April, 2014 for the new superintendent of the Summit Public Schools. The data contained herein were obtained from input the HYA consultants received when they met with individuals and groups in either individual interviews or focus group settings and from the results of the online survey completed by stakeholders. The surveys, interviews, and focus group meetings were structured to gather input to assist the Board in determining the primary characteristics desired in the new superintendent. Additionally the stakeholder interviews and focus groups collected information regarding the strengths of the District and some of the challenges that it will be facing in the coming years. Participation The numbers of participants, by stakeholder group, in the two methods of data gathering are listed below: Group Personal interviews Online Survey or focus groups Board 7 Administrators Teachers Support Staff 2 17 Parents 218 Community/Parents *54 Community 19 **Total = *Three representatives of the City Government and three members of the Summit Education Foundation participated in personal interviews. The remaining attendees attended open public forums. **The total count is partially duplicated due to opportunities to participate in both methods and/or to attend more than one event. The responses provided by the individuals and focus groups during the interviews are listed in two places 1) Consistent Themes, which beginning on page four of the report and 2) Comments from individual and group meetings, which begin on page nine. They are listed alphabetically with no attempt to prioritize them. Finally, Desired Characteristics, decided by the Board of Education after careful review and consideration of all input, can be found on page 13. 1

3 It should be emphasized that the data are not a scientific sampling, nor should they necessarily be viewed as representing the majority opinion of the respective groups to which they are attributed. Items are included if, in the consultants judgment, they warranted the Board s attention. Strengths of the District The City of Summit is an actively involved community with abundant and varied resources to support its residents and public schools. Summit residents value the city s economic and cultural diversity. The City is noted for its high level of community support including exceptional levels of volunteerism and giving. The Summit Public Schools are among the best in New Jersey. Summit schools are known for their high academic achievement, success in athletics and the arts, and their numerous programs and services for students with diverse talents and needs. The faculty is accomplished and dedicated to serving all students. Parents are actively involved and seek ways to assist and engage with the schools in support of students. Challenges/Concerns/Issues Facing the District Economic challenges are not unique to Summit. The next superintendent will be constrained by the economy and by state imposed limits on spending. A large portion of Summit s property tax is dedicated to the public schools, and residents want to be assured that their tax investments are yielding good returns. One challenge will be to engender agreement on system goals and indicators of success. Frequently expressed indicators were increased academic achievement for students at all levels, admission rates to prestigious schools and the school district s standing among competitor school districts. With financial constraints, often come competing priorities. The new superintendent will be forced to make decisions knowing that some will not be well-received by part or even all of the community. Satisfying the desire for active community engagement has the potential to compromise the quality of decisions that impact student growth and learning if not very carefully done. Additionally, the appointed School Board and City Government have a long history of positive working relations. Many participants expressed concerns that this relationship may be deteriorating to the detriment of the schools. Rebuilding trust is a concern that must be addressed. 2

4 Desired Characteristics Responses to the on-line survey, focus groups and interviews indicate interest in employing a superintendent with a clear vision for a superior 21 st Century education and the skills to lead the district in pursuit of this vision. The need to hire or inspire, develop, and lead a superior staff is fundamental to this accomplishment. Engaging the community and managing the organization effectively and efficiently are also of prime importance. HYA cannot promise to find a candidate who possesses all of the characteristics desired by respondents. However, HYA intends to seek and the Board intends to select a superintendent who optimally meets the District s needs. The consultants would like to thank the participants who attended focus groups and completed the online survey. Also, we would like to thank those who assisted with our meetings. We offer a special thank-you to President Gloria M. Ron-Fornes for her leadership in this endeavor and Business Administrator Louis Pepe and Administrative Assistant Jeannine Dotten for their efforts in facilitating our time in the District. Respectfully submitted, Judith A. Ferguson, Ed.D Russ Schumacher, Esq. Senior Associates 3

5 Consistent Themes Strengths Actively involved community Breadth of opportunities for children, in school and in the community Community that values its diversity Community that values public education Excellent teachers who give time and effort beyond the norm Generous parents and community members Reputation as an outstanding school district Schools and parents with high expectations for students Challenges/Concerns/Issues Engaging parents and community appropriately in decisions that impact them Ensuring Summit s reputation as a premier school district Ensuring the success of all students Increasing trust between the school district and its constituents Meeting the expectations of competing interests Desired Characteristics Acts openly and honestly Builds team Cares about the success of each student Communicates effectively in various settings and domains Demonstrates transparency Does what is best for students Engages constituents in meaningful ways Has a breadth of experience in education and administration Has a vision for the future of Summit Public Schools Holds strong principles Makes sound and timely decisions Organizes and manages effectively Secures and manages resources wisely Strives to improve Summit Public Schools Values the Summit community; its richness and diversity Visits schools and attends school and community events Withstands undue pressure 4

6 Online Superintendent Profile Survey Results The Superintendent Profile survey was completed by 346 stakeholders. Almost two-thirds of respondents were parents with children in the district (63 percent). Twenty percent were teachers. Another seven percent were administrators, and the rest were community members and support staff. Stakeholder Group Frequency Percent Administrator Community Member without children in the district Parent Student Support Staff Teacher Total The top-rated characteristics that respondents selected are: Listen to and effectively represent the interests and concerns of students, staff, parents, and community members. (CE) Have a clear vision of what is required to provide exemplary educational services and implement effective change. (VV) Foster a positive professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators. (CC) Recruit, employ, evaluate, and retain effective personnel throughout the District and its schools. (M) Identify, confront, and resolve issues and concerns in a timely manner. (CE) 5

7 Percentages of respondents overall who selected each item, as well as percentages by stakeholder group, are given in the tables on the following pages. Differences were examined for statistical and practical significance to determine whether the mean scores by stakeholder group differed. Results indicate that, for many items, the various stakeholders were in agreement. On the other hand, there were several items that certain stakeholders valued more than others. Teachers were significantly more likely than Parents and Community Members to select the Communication and Collaboration item Foster a positive professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators. Community Members were significantly more likely than Support Staff and Teachers to select the Vision and Values item Promote high expectations for all students and personnel. Parents were significantly more likely than Administrators and Teachers to select the Instructional Leadership item Increase academic performance and accountability at all levels and for all its students, including special needs populations. Teachers were significantly more likely than Parents to select the Communication and Collaboration item Lead in an encouraging, participatory, and team-focused manner. 6

8 Percentage of Respondents Who Selected Each Item (By Subgroups) Number indicates rank order by overall results ALL (346) Admin (24) Comm. (19) Parent (218) SS (17) Teacher (68) 1 Listen to and effectively represent the interests and concerns of students, staff, parents, and community members. 54% 38% 58% 53% 59% 62% 2 Have a clear vision of what is required to provide exemplary educational services and implement effective change. 52% 50% 32% 54% 35% 57% 3 4 Foster a positive professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators. Recruit, employ, evaluate, and retain effective personnel throughout the District and its schools. 44% 67% 26% 30% 59% 82% 42% 21% 42% 49% 24% 32% 5 Identify, confront, and resolve issues and concerns in a timely manner. 6 Promote high expectations for all students and personnel. 41% 58% 37% 41% 41% 37% 40% 21% 58% 49% 12% 22% 7 8 Hold a deep understanding of the teaching/learning process and of the importance of educational technology. Increase academic performance and accountability at all levels and for all its students, including special needs populations. 40% 33% 21% 41% 29% 47% 38% 13% 37% 49% 18% 19% 9 Be visible throughout the District and actively engaged in community life. 10 Lead in an encouraging, participatory, and team-focused manner. 11 Strive for continuous improvement in all areas of the District. 12 Communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and in a variety of ways. 34% 38% 21% 31% 59% 43% 33% 50% 16% 27% 59% 46% 32% 17% 21% 36% 35% 28% 29% 38% 26% 28% 29% 29% 7

9 Percentage of Respondents Who Selected Each Item con t Provide meaningful guidance for systematic and comprehensive districtwide curriculum, instructional services, assessment programs, and professional development. Align budgets, long-range plans, and operational procedures with the District s vision, mission, and goals. Hold a deep appreciation for diversity and the importance of providing safe and caring school environments. 29% 29% 21% 30% 29% 28% 27% 21% 26% 30% 24% 22% 26% 29% 32% 23% 18% 34% 16 Effectively plan and manage the longterm financial health of the District. 24% 13% 47% 26% 18% 19% 17 Guide the operation and maintenance of school facilities to ensure secure, safe, and clean school environments that support learning. 24% 17% 11% 25% 24% 28% 18 Involve appropriate stakeholders in the decision-making process. 22% 33% 26% 18% 24% 28% Encourage a sense of shared responsibility among all stakeholders regarding success in student learning. Maintain positive and collaborative working relationships with the school board and its members. 22% 21% 21% 21% 12% 28% 21% 42% 32% 18% 18% 19% 21 Seek a high level of engagement with principals and other school-site leaders. 22 Be an effective manager of the District s day-to-day operations. 23 Act in accordance with the District s mission, vision, and core beliefs. 19% 38% 16% 19% 24% 13% 19% 25% 32% 14% 41% 25% 15% 29% 32% 12% 35% 10% Develop strong relationships with constituents, local government, area businesses, media, and community partners. Utilize student achievement data to drive the District s instructional decisionmaking. 14% 13% 26% 15% 18% 10% 13% 4% 26% 14% 6% 9% 8

10 Comments from Interviews and Focus Group Meetings Listed in alphabetical order BOARD Challenges/Concerns/Issues Comparing favorably with competing school districts Deciding priorities Demonstrating return on investment to taxpayers Earning the respect of all constituent groups Enhancing working relationship with City Government Meeting expectations with limits on resources Meeting the needs of all students Raising achievement for all students Desired Characteristics Builds team Commits to educational excellence Communicates effectively Demonstrates integrity Embraces and articulates a vision for Summit Public Schools Forges partnerships Holds staff accountable Is energetic Is intelligent and intellectually curious Is politically savvy but not political Is principled, confident and not easily intimidated Is visible in the schools and community Leads and manages people effectively Leads with confidence and assertiveness Leverages technology to advance district objectives Manages effectively Plans ahead; both strategically and short range Seeks results Thinks logically and rationally Understands and accepts diverse viewpoints 9

11 ADMINISTRATORS Challenges/Concerns/Issues Clash between corporate and education cultures Community concerns over taxes and cost of education Lack of clarity in roles of Board and Superintendent Limits on resources needed to fund all needs and expectations Lowered staff morale due to state mandates and economic impact issues Desired Characteristics Builds team Communicates effectively in all domains and situations Considers diverse viewpoints Delegates effectively Demonstrates personal and professional integrity Establishes clear goals Has teaching and administrative experience Hires, develops and effectively manages competent staff Holds strong convictions; is not easily intimidated Is politically astute Leads with vision for Summit Schools; Manages resources efficiently Plans well and follows through Sets priorities Works collaboratively 10

12 COMMUNITY/PARENTS (Forums attended by both) Challenges/Concerns/Issues Competing priorities over allocation of limited resources to district needs Concern that admissions to prestigious colleges and universities is on the decline Concern that the school district may be losing its competitive edge Desire for greater input and influence in administrative decisions Dissatisfaction with the handling of certain personnel and policy issues Perception that students in the middle are overlooked Tension between the school district and city leaders over direction of the schools Desired Characteristics Advocates for the Summit Public Schools Attends community events Cares about every student Communicates with ease and expertise Demonstrates integrity Focuses on academic achievement Has background in education Has experience in district(s) similar to Summit Has high energy Holds high expectations for each student Holds staff accountable Is fiscally responsible and resourceful Is honest and candid in communications Is open to change and innovation Leads technology initiatives Leads with transparency Leads with vision for 21st Century education Understands and appreciates the Summit community Values community engagement in the schools Visits schools and classrooms Works toward continuous improvement 11

13 FACULTY (Teachers and Support Staff) Challenges/Concerns/Issues Inadequate communication between central office and schools; teachers don t feel wellinformed Loss of staff and programs due to financial constraints Low staff morale due to economic conditions and increased state mandates Perception that pressure and power exert undue influence on administrative decisions Desired Characteristics Appreciates diverse viewpoints Builds team Communicates effectively Engages parents willingly and frequently Has a breadth of experience in education Introduces thoughtful and timely change Leads with vision for the future of Summit Public Schools Makes decisions based on what is best for students Makes decisions based on research and sound information Organizes and plans well Secures and uses resources efficiently Visits schools and classrooms Withstands pressure 12

14 Superintendent of Schools Desired Characteristics After seeking input from its Board members, parents, staff, and community via focus groups, interviews, and an online survey, and extensive discussion among its members, the Board of Education seeks a strong educational leader who: Commits to delivering an excellent education to all students Leads with confidence Promotes a climate of mutual respect and trust Demonstrates fiscal astuteness and responsibility Communicates effectively Leads and manages people effectively Introduces thoughtful and timely improvements Inspires a culture of high expectations and peak performance Leverages technology to advance district objectives Thinks and plans strategically With regard to leadership experiences and accomplishments, the successful candidate will have: Eligibility for certification in the state of New Jersey Teaching and educational administrative experience, preferably in a district like Summit 13

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