CH-UH BOE to interview superintendent candidates and appoint interim leader

Heights High students participated in a December focus group on what to look for in the district's next superintendent. 

The search for the next superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District is in full swing. The CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) began the process in November, and expects to interview finalists in February, with the goal of naming its new superintendent by March.

The BOE will name an interim superintendent to lead the district beginning in March, when the current superintendent, Talisa Dixon, leaves for Columbus City Schools. The new permanent superintendent is expected to begin work in CH-UH in the summer of 2019.

[Editor’s note: On Sept. 21, when the CH-UH City School District and Dixon announced her decision to take the position of Superintendent of Columbus City Schools, she “affirmed her commitment to complete the 2018–19 school year with the CH-UH district, citing the need to ‘finish important work’ and ‘see through our initiatives.’”

Asked on Jan. 8 about the change in Dixon’s time frame for leaving CH-UH, Wortman stated: “She is in CH-UH through the end of February. This timeline was covered in the announcement of her contract agreement with Columbus on Nov. 10. Here is the link to our announcement/statement:"

The statement reads in part: “Current Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Superintendent Talisa Dixon agreed to a contract today with the Columbus City School District as its next Superintendent/CEO.

Dixon will start in Columbus on March 4. Any transition time spent before that date will be covered using her vacation days. 

The CH-UH BOE has begun the search process of finding its next superintendent and will appoint an interim superintendent to lead the district beginning in March through the end of the school year.

We are obviously disappointed to be losing our superintendent in March, but we cannot hold Dr. Dixon back from an opportunity she feels she needs to pursue. We must express strong concerns about the integrity of the Columbus Board of Education and how this process has played out. We approached Dr. Dixon’s departure with good faith that Columbus would honor the need for her to complete the school year. With disregard, they chose otherwise. We wish her the best of luck.”]

To inform its search, the BOE held community focus group meetings in December. The BOE’s consultant, Ray and Associates, facilitated the discussions with various groups, including community leaders, local government officials, nonprofits, district staff, students and stakeholders.

“We were very pleased with the amount of participation and feedback we received from community stakeholders,” said BOE President Jim Posch. “The CH-UH community is known for its civic engagement, and this process was a testament to that reputation. As a board, we feel better prepared to know what our community desires in a superintendent as we begin the process of selecting candidates and evaluating potential finalists.”

The feedback elicited a set of criteria that the BOE will use to evaluate potential superintendent candidates:

  • Possesses excellent people skills, presents a positive image of the CH-UH district, and will listen to input and make a decision when necessary.
  • Is familiar with the opportunities and challenges inherent in working with a community and student population of great diversity: racial, religious, socio-economic, cultural, ethnic.
  • Inspires trust, has high levels of self-confidence and optimism, and models high standards of integrity and personal performance.
  • Is a strong communicator: speaking, listening and writing.
  • Has experience recruiting and maintaining exceptional staff.
  • Has experience dealing with employee representative groups/unions.
  • Has experience improving educational outcomes and closing gaps in student achievement.
  • Promotes a positive and professional environment for district employees and board.
  • Is committed to, and has experience dealing with, racial equity.
  • Has experience leading innovation, reform and advocacy efforts.

Scott Wortman

Scott Wortman is the supervisor of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 12:07 PM, 01.08.2019