Students Offer Their Views on Superintendent Candidates

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Although not members of a professional search firm, students who met with the three final candidates for superintendent offered plenty of frank assessments.

In large public meetings March 13-15, community members had a chance to form their opinions of the candidates as they introduced themselves and answered questions in the Upper Cafeteria. Shortly before these meetings, a small group of students sat in a circle in the Senior Lounge and spoke with each candidate.

“I thought they were very open to ideas, which was good,” said junior Maggie Steinberg, who attended the meetings with Alexandria City School Director of PreK-12 Initiatives Gregory Hutchings and Mequon-Theinsville City School District Superintendent Demond Means.

Steinberg thought both candidates seemed very enthusiastic, but, she said, “I didn’t think Means really had the confidence you needed for a superintendent. I think he had good ideas but he didn’t have the leadership qualities to execute them.” Steinberg preferred Hutchings. “I thought he was very direct and knew what he wanted to do with Shaker,” she said.

Sophomore August Whitley attended all three meetings. Of all the candidates, Whitley agreed that Hutchings was the best fit for Shaker. “The other guys were more big-business guys,” he said. Whitley described David Bowlin, The Center for Learning’s director of curriculum and professional development, as qualified but too serious and a “big dog kind of guy.” Means, he said, spoke little about himself.

Like Steinberg, sophomore Louie Seguin only attended the meetings with Means and Hutchings. However, Seguin preferred Means. “I thought Dr. Hutchings was very young and he seemed very enthusiastic,” he said. “I thought his ideas were maybe not as plausible, not as realistic as Dr. Means’.”

Seguin said from what he’s heard about Bowlin, the candidate “wasn’t memorable,” and said that between Bowlin and Hutchings, he thinks Hutchings is a better option. But, he said, “Clearly if they’ve made it so far, they all have the potential to be successful as superintendent.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 26 March 2013, on page 4 of The Shakerite.

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