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DCSS Board holds public 'listening session'

The Doughtery School Board heard what the public wants in a new superintendent

Corleen Thompson speaks before the Dougherty County School Board Monday during a public "listening session" to get community feedback in the Board’s search for a permanent school superintendent. (Photo: Terry Lewis)

Corleen Thompson speaks before the Dougherty County School Board Monday during a public "listening session" to get community feedback in the Board’s search for a permanent school superintendent. (Photo: Terry Lewis)

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Georgia School Boards Association consultant Bill Sampson, who is working with the Dougherty School Board in its search for a permanent superintendent, goes over the ground rules of a public "listening session" before the board on Monday. He is is pictured with GSBA colleague Mary Jessie. (Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County School Board on Monday held a "listening session" to get community feedback as the board moves forward in its search for a permanent replacement for Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely.

The session was moderated by Georgia School Boards Association(GSBA) consultants Bill Sampson and Mary Jessie, who also provided the board an update on the search’s progress.

“As you know we first surveyed the board as to what the members are looking for in a permanent superintendent,” Jessie said. “Then we posted an online survey on the system’s web site for community feedback. So far that survey has resulted in more than 450 responses. That survey will remain up for the next two weeks.”

At the end of that period, the GSBA will put together a report to present to the Board. In the meantime the position is being advertised and the deadline for applications is Jan. 24. Sampson said Tuesday that his office has received three applications so far.

“The low number received so far is not unusual due to the relatively long application deadline,” Sampson said. “If things hold true we will receive 75 to 80 percent of our applications in the last five to 10 days before the deadline.

In the listening session, 11 community members asked to speak and shared their thoughts on what qualities they’d like to see in a new superintendent.

“I think we need someone who has a definite interest in focusing on the county’s high dropout rate,” Lee Don said. “I’d also like to see us get a person who was open, honest and trustworthy.”

Art Brown said he wanted a person who would apply a business approach to the system.

“I’d like to see us get someone who would manage the school system from a business point of view and is good with interpersonal relationships,” Brown said. “We need someone who can manage and bring some results.

John Burr told the Board he wanted someone who will live in Dougherty County.

“We need a person who will live in Dougherty County,” Burr said. “If Dougherty County isn’t good enough to live in, then it’s not good enough to work in and he doesn’t need the job.”

Polly Cherry said, “we need someone with a doctorate degree because education is not a play game.”

Thelma Johnson said the system needs someone who understands the county’s demographics.

“We need a student-focused leader who asks ‘how can we engage these students?’” Johnson said. “We need someone who can work with the current student population and understand the economy and demographics of Dougherty County.”