From correspondent Maria Magher
Neil Pedersen, superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, retires this spring after leading the district for 19 years. Each Sunday, The Chapel Hill News is asking school-community members what they want to see in a new superintendent. The school board is expected to announce a new superintendent April 14.
Here is a look at this Sunday's interview with Amanda Hartness, principal of McDougle Elementary. Remember, you can tell us what you think by sending a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
What qualities do you think are most important to find in a new superintendent?
Hartness: Someone who will listen to administrators who know their schools. I always feel so supported by Dr. Pedersen. He listens to my advice about the direction of my school. I feel comfortable calling him with my concerns or questions.
Do you think the district would benefit more from an internal candidate for superintendent, or from someone from out of the area?
Hartness: I think it would be helpful to have someone outside of the district. Sometimes we are too close to see our greatest area of need. We often need a new set of eyes to help us see things in a different way.
What do you think will be the biggest priorities for the new superintendent in his or her first year?
Hartness: The budget, AYP issues. As the bar raises, we will have more schools that may fall into improvement status despite our high performance.
What were some of Dr. Pedersen’s greatest accomplishments in your opinion?
Hartness: The equity work in our district and high-performance schools.
Pedersen has identified several goals/priorities during his time as superintendent, such as reducing the achievement gap. How well do you think he has done in accomplishing these goals?
Hartness: I think the schools have improved tremendously. We still have some work to do, and he challenges us to do that work and supports us in our strategies to do so. I think the only thing I would like to see different would be the willingness to challenge the status quo in the district. We sometimes can't go too far out of the box because it is the way things have always been done. It is hard in a small district to shake things up too much and go too radical. I understand that and respect that.