Philly school board moves to narrow its pool of candidates for a new superintendent

‘While the process is still fluid, the search for the next superintendent remains on schedule,’ board vice president Leticia Egea-Hinton said

By: - February 1, 2022 1:49 pm

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA — The Board of Education is moving toward a smaller candidate pool for the School District of Philadelphia superintendent job.

More than 400 candidates have connected with Isaacson Miller, the search firm the board has hired to assist with the school district superintendent search, since the fall.

“While the process is still fluid, the search for the next superintendent remains on schedule,” said Leticia Egea-Hinton, vice president of the Board of Education.

“Our next step is to establish a smaller candidate pool of qualified and inspiring individuals who have met the board’s criteria,” she added.

Among the pool of candidates currently under consideration, 71% identify as male, 21% identify as female, 64% are Black, 14% are Latino, 7% are white, and 14% chose not to identify.

Twenty-one percent of the candidates have experience in the Philadelphia school district and 64% of the candidates currently work in school administrations or are in districts similar to Philadelphia in size and demographics.

All of the candidates have experience in education or led major institutions and have experience working with diverse communities.

However, Egea-Hinton said the board will not be sharing any identifiable information about the candidates.

“We’re really protective of the identities and the anonymity of the pool; we don’t want anything to get out there,” Egea-Hinton said. “We still have to preserve the privacy of potential candidates.”

Philly’s outgoing school superintendent has a new job

The next step in the superintendent search will include interviews with the top five candidates that are expected to take place in February to March, followed by public forums with the finalists in March.

An announcement of the district’s new superintendent will be made later in the spring. The final candidate names will be released only once finalist candidates have informed their current employers of their plans to pursue this position

“We’re still on track with our timeline of having a new superintendent in the spring,” Egea-Hinton said. “Following the finalist announcement, we will invite the final candidates to Philadelphia for a series of meetings with stakeholders and opportunities for the public to hear from them directly.

“We will also be releasing information on how the public can take part in the public town hall and other candidate engagement opportunities and we will also make public the candidates’ interview and meeting schedules while in the city,” she added.

Last week, it was announced that Hite will be the new CEO/president of KnowledgeWorks, a national nonprofit that partners with K-12 educators.

He will begin that role July 1. Hite announced last September that he will not renew his contract at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Despite the new job, Hite will remain the school district’s superintendent through the end of the school year and will still be instrumental in the plan to onboard his successor.

“The goal is to have a smooth transition,” said Joyce Wilkerson, president of the Board of Education. “Dr. Hite will be instrumental in the plan to onboard his successor.

“We look forward to working alongside Dr. Hite and school district stakeholders to ensure we are setting the next leader of the school district up for success,” she added.

In December, the board selected a 13-member superintendent advisory committee of community leaders, business representatives, students, clergy and educators.

The committee has been engaged in onboarding activities to prepare for the candidates’ interviews.

The board also released a 27-page report on the 48 listening sessions that were held around the city. The sessions engaged over 50 community groups and got more than 3,900 responses to a survey asking what people sought in a new district leader.

“Appointing a superintendent is one of the most important duties of the Board of Education and the role is incredibly important to our school district and the city,” Wilkerson said.

“We have ensured that this process is carried out in alignment with the themes that emerged in the October and November community engagement process and with the objectives of the board’s strategic plan which we call Goals and Guardrails,” she added.

“We are committed to a search that delivers the qualified and visionary superintendent candidates Philadelphia deserves, and that nearly 6,000 Philadelphians told the board that they desire.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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