Community lists what it wants in a superintendent

Community members say they want a school superintendent who can foster trust, someone friendly and approachable who has strong ethical values and excellent communication skills.

These are some of the characteristics identified during recent focus groups and an online survey, organized by Cooperative Educational Services (CES) in Trumbull, the agency hired to facilitate the search for a new school superintendent in Milford.

The Milford public school system had been through several years of relative instability in 2011 when school Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser took the helm. She brought calm and stability. But now Feser is retiring, planning to leave her post July 31.

Members of CES said the search for a new superintendent of schools is moving ahead and they expect to see a new superintendent in place Aug. 1.

Focus groups met recently to discuss expectations for the next superintendent, and 101 people participated. The focus groups included school administrators, teachers and staff, plus city officials, community members, students and parents. In addition, an online survey compiled the opinions of another 1,063 people.

Participants said they would like a school leader with a background in a broad spectrum of educational environments, from classroom teaching to superintendent. They would like the new superintendent to be familiar with contemporary educational issues, and to be someone who is well-organized with demonstrated success in managing changes in the educational landscape, and maintaining student and teacher safety. They also indicated they want a leader who promotes high levels of student achievement.

The application deadline for the superintendent position is April 19 at 2 p.m.

The Milford Board of Education is serving as the search committee and will conduct interviews with selected candidates in late April and early May, CES officials said.