Even though only one resident showed up for the town hall meeting to provide input on the hiring of the new superintendent of schools, Board of Education Chairman Bruce Putterman was far from disappointed.
Indeed, Putterman attributed the low turnout to several factors, not least of which was the online survey at www.superintendent-search.info that 662 people had taken advantage of by Tuesday. Putterman said that residents may still provide their input through the survey, which will remain open until Friday.
In addition, Putterman said that people perceive things to be going well in West Hartford schools, which may have contributed to the low turnout.
“When people are unhappy, people show up,” school board member Elin Katz said.
Finally, Putterman said that an internal candidate has been identified, and people seem to be comfortable with who that choice is, or at least that the school board is looking internally.
Putterman declined to name the favored internal candidate.
In an unrelated note, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen List was not in attendance at Tuesday’s school board meeting due to a death in the family; Tom Moore, assistant superintendent for administration, sat in for her.
The lone member of the public to attend the meeting, John Joyce, said that he hoped the school board would cast a wider net outside the school district to hire a superintendent.
But school board member Terry Schmitt said that 5 years ago, when List was hired, a broader search was required because the school board at the time hadn’t hired a superintendent before. Also, when David Sklarz retired as superintendent in 2008, the school board felt that a clear direction was needed for the district, Schmitt said.
This time around, there is no such uncertainty and an internal candidate is what may be best to continue the road map established by List, Schmitt said.
“This time, five years later, we have a better sense of what the community is looking for,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt added that with the new teacher evaluations and the Common Core State Standards arriving, it might be better to have someone familiar with the school district as the new superintendent.The survey results have provided valuable data, according to Putterman, who noted that 307 parents, 267 teachers, 67 students and 37 administrators have responded to a full questionnaire.