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updated: 1/10/2012 2:03 PM

Glenbard identifying traits for new superintendent

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Members of the Glenbard High School District 87 board of education have weighed in on what characteristics they would like to see in a new superintendent.

A search firm hired by the board, School Exec Connect, has been taking the pulse of district stakeholders this week, including administrators, teachers, parents and superintendents of the Glenbard feeder districts. On Monday, two representatives of the firm conducted a focus group session with board members at a public meeting.

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The district is looking for a new superintendent to replace Michael Meissen, who is stepping down at the end of the school year.

Board member Mary Ozog, a Glen Ellyn resident and staunch opponent of the administration's plan to install lights at Glenbard West's Memorial Field, said she'd like to see more transparency and someone who listens to all parties but isn't particularly influenced by any group.

"Change is difficult for everybody," Ozog said. "The perception of pacing things at a reasonable level would be something appreciated by parents and students."

Board President Rich Heim, however, said the new superintendent should be decisive, be prepared to make decisions, and move forward.

Board member Bob Friend added that the new administrator should collaborate, but then be prepared to make a decision.

In the end, Ozog suggested the superintendent should have "thoughtful decisiveness."

Several board members indicated the new leader should get to know community leaders and be able to connect with an increasingly diverse constituency.

They also said they want someone to take the district to the next level.

"If we're going to demonstrate the viability of public education, we're going to do it. We have the tools to do it. If we can't do it here, where can we do it?" board member Tom Voltaggio said. "We're a district that can be a role model. If I didn't believe that, I shouldn't be sitting here. I want somebody who walks in here and feels the same way."

The public is invited to share feedback on the superintendent search by taking a survey on the district's website. Officials said 465 people have taken the survey so far. It is available until Jan. 16.

A list of the top six superintendent candidates is expected to be presented to the board on Feb. 13, and interviews with the candidates are scheduled for Feb. 15 and 18. A new superintendent is expected to be announced March 19.

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