Applications for Superintendent Position Flowing In

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COLUMBIA - Friday was the last day Columbia Public Schools accepted applications for the soon-to-be vacant superintendent position. More than 10 people have applied for the job.

Bob Watkins from the Missouri School Boards Association, MSBA, said he isn't surprised there has been a lot of interest in the position.

"The district is viewed as one of the really good districts in the state of Missouri and it has such a good reputation that people are interested in it," Watkins said. 

Even the good districts have their trouble spots the new superintendent will need to address right away. Jonathan Sessions, a member of the Columbia Board of Education, said the candidates will need to be able to adjust to changes. 

"We're seeing an increase in diversity, an increase in poverty in our community and a lot of that leads to additional challenges in Columbia Public Schools," Sessions said. 

So far, applications have come from Missouri and out of state, something Sessions said is a good thing. 

"We're always looking for new ideas that can help us close the achievement gap," Sessions said. "We get very much in a school district. There's a lot of bureaucracy and there's always a new program, and sometimes we add new programs. We don't find them to be as successful as we had hoped and often times we don't get rid of new programs." 

While those in the district might not always agree on the correct approaches, they do agree on one thing. 

"In a community like Columbia, there's a lot of scrutiny on the public schools because education is so important in our community," Sessions said. "Making sure that we have someone that's a great communicator as well as everything that you would expect from a superintendent." 

Watkins agrees. 

"There's a great need for the person who comes into this positon to be able to communicate with a number of different groups," Watkins said. 

He said beyond communication, the new superintendent will need to be able to address issues as they come up.

"There are growth things that take place, there are curriculum changes that take place, there are test scores to be dealt with, there are building and facility issues that need to be done and of course finance, that always needs to be addressed," Watkins said. 

The Board of Education will meet with Watkins the week of February 24 to go through the applications and discuss interviews. 

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