Selecting the right superintendent

Published 11:10 am Saturday, March 5, 2016

As has been reported extensively in this paper, the Southampton County School Board is in the process of searching for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Alvera J. Parrish, who in January announced that she would retire from her position when her contract expires on July 1. On Monday, March 7, the board will hold a public hearing where it will reveal its qualifications for possible candidates and solicit community input.

Selecting a new superintendent is one of the most significant tasks facing the board, and the impact of choosing wisely, or poorly, will be felt by the school system for years to come.

As mentioned in our open letter to the school board shortly after Parrish’s announced her decision to retire, we have all seen what happened to one of our local school systems suffering under poor leadership; plummeting test scores, huge turnover in personnel, poor morale and a deteriorating relationship with the community, among others.

Southampton has seemingly taken the proper steps in the last few months to avoid such a setback, asking parents and county residents alike through a survey which qualifications they deem most important and what they believe the new superintendent should prioritize. Monday’s public hearing is another chance for citizens to voice their concerns, and we sincerely hope to see the Wigwam at Southampton Technical Career Center at capacity.

Like you, we care deeply about the quality of public education in our community and want desperately for our local schools to be the best they can possibly be.

So, Western Tidewater, this an open letter to you:

Selecting the right superintendent to succeed Parrish is of the utmost importance. But while the task of choosing ultimately falls upon the shoulders of the school board, they’re a representation of the people that live within their district. Make your voice be heard on Monday.