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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

New input from community at Park for superintendent candidate

The voice of Park becomes impactful
Caedon Exsted
Park student tapes up new QR code Jan. 25. Park has been recently searching for a new superintendent.

With a vacancy in the superintendent position at Park, the process of finding a new superintendent has taken a different approach from previous years. This time around, parents and students have been able to have an input in what they want in a candidate for the position through a Zoom call that took place early this month to go over the qualities and characteristics that people wanted for a superintendent. 

According to Park mother and community member Rachel Nieves, this new process felt very inclusive to members of the community at Park who wanted an input in who they wanted for a new superintendent. 

“I think it’s a good idea to offer the community different ways to get involved in the superintendent search process. By making Zoom an option, more people are able to participate, which ideally gives a broader picture of what our community wants in their next leader for the district,“ said Nieves. ”I also provided feedback through an online survey, which I found helpful because I was able to take my time and express the qualities that I would like to see in the person selected to be superintendent.”

Math teacher Christina Begin said a reliable superintendent needs to have experience to be able to deal with difficult situations that might arise at Park — someone who has the characteristics of being a good leader. 

“I think (we need) someone who is experienced because there’s a lot that goes on at the school, so you have to be ready for anything,” Begin said. “A superintendent (needs) that experience so they can use that to draw on when different situations arise. (We need) someone who’s empathetic, someone who can relate to not only the students and the community, but also the staff as well. Someone who’s a good leader.”

Director of Assessment, Research and Evaluation Sylvia Lafayette said school board members work with a search firm to find candidates for the role of being a superintendent. This time, though, with the help of surveys like the Zoom call, parent stakeholders will be able to contribute their input on what the criteria should be like for new candidates. 

“It is the school board that is working with the search firm right now. The selection process is with the school board,” Lafayette said. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the surveys that have been put out to try to get different parent community stakeholder voices (that) try to help the school board craft the criteria for selecting the next superintendent.”

Nieves said the survey benefits people who might not be able to come to board meetings or are just busy and enables them to give their opinion. She said this makes the process more inclusive and gives the community an opportunity to be a part of the process.  

“The positive aspects of offering the Zoom and the survey are that it enables more families to engage with those who maybe can’t make it to an in-person meeting due to work and other commitments,” Nieves said. “Hopefully by offering this, the district will have an inclusive view of what community members want moving forward. The downside to this approach is only that it can feel impersonal to conduct conversations solely over Zoom or via surveys, but I feel that the positives far outweighs any downsides and I appreciate that the district found ways to try and reach a broader audience on this issue.” 


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About the Contributors
Roberto Alvarez, Echo Staffer
Hi, my name is Roberto Alvarez. I am 16 years old and I live in St. Louis Park, and I am in 10th grade. I have an older brother and have two dogs. I love hanging out with my friends and playing soccer. I want to capture immaculate pictures of sports teams and other activities and events at this high school and be a photographer.
Caedon Exsted, Echo Staffer
Hey, my name is Caedon Exsted. I am a junior and this is my second year on Echo. I live in St. Louis Park with my parents, 5 siblings and 2 dogs. In my free time I enjoy hanging with friends and watching new shows on Netflix.

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