Written By: Prince William County Public Schools
During a work session held October 28, 2020, The Prince William County School Board initiated its search for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Steven Walts upon his retirement June 30, 2021. The search process, as presented at the work session by Dr. Kevin Castner and Dr. Wayne Harris, is being conducted by a national search firm, BWP & Associates, with the goal of identifying a slate of highly qualified candidates from which the School Board will select the next superintendent (watch the October 28, 2020 work session and BWP slide presentation).
The Timeline And Stages Of That Process Are As Follows:
I. The Community Engagement Process (November 23, 2020 Through December 10, 2020).
In order to understand the unique needs of the Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), BWP & Associates will conduct a survey and a series of meetings and open forums with PWCS parents, students, teachers, employees, and other stakeholder groups, as well as individual meetings with members of the School Board. The purpose of the community engagement phase of the search process is to identify the qualities and characteristics the Board will be looking for in a new superintendent. The data gathered from the community by BWP & Associates will be used to develop the profile of the next superintendent and identify candidates who meet that profile.
The objectives of the public engagement process are three-fold:
- To learn the strengths, needs, and issues of the school system to recruit the best slate of candidates to meet our needs;
- To be able to describe the Division’s strengths, needs and issues to the recruited candidates; and
- To engage in the process in such a way that will build community understanding and support for the search.
The BWP Survey (available from November 23, 2020-December 10, 2020). All members of the Prince William County community are encouraged to complete a survey provided by BWP & Associate.
Community Open Forums and Community Engagement Meetings
(November 30, 2020 through December 3, 2020)
Dr. Castner and Dr. Harris will conduct virtual meetings and two open community forums beginning the evening of Monday, November 30, 2020 through Thursday, December 3, 2020. Due to pandemic-related limits on in person public gatherings and the need for social distancing and other mitigation measures to protect all participants, this series of meetings and forums will be conducted virtually to ensure maximum public participation.
Community Open Forums
Virtual community forums open to everyone are being conducted from 6-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, and Thursday, December 3, 2020. Citizens who would like to participate in either forum may register below by providing their contact information and email, which will enable PWCS to provide each registrant with a link to the forum enabling them to speak in turn (similar to the process currently used for School Board citizen comment time). All citizens, students, employees and community members are encouraged to participate in the community forums, where participants may speak for three minutes on the following limited topics:
- What do you see as the greatest strengths of PWCS?
- What do you see as the greatest challenges faced by PWCS?
- What qualities and characteristics does the next superintendent of PWCS need to possess and demonstrate?
Community Engagement Meetings
In addition to the open community forums, BWP & Associates will also conduct a series of virtual meetings with various stakeholder groups identified by the School Board, including PWCS parent advisory councils, School Board and Superintendent committees and task forces, PWCS teachers and their organizations, the PWCS student senate, equity groups and task forces, the special education community, religious and faith groups, school principals and administrators, other employee groups, and elected officials, among others. Meeting times for these stakeholder meetings are available on the Community Engagement Schedule. Participants may register for these virtual meetings through the schedule and will be provided with a link to the meeting enabling them to speak up to three minutes in response to the three questions listed above.
Direct Input to BWP
In addition to the survey and community engagement meetings and forums, BWP & Associates encourages stakeholder input on the same three questions listed above through email communications which can be sent to BWP at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please send any email input directly to BWP and not to School Board members so that the search firm can access your data).
II. Community Engagement Report To The School Board
Using the community input and data gathered from PWCS stakeholders, BWP & Associates will develop a draft Leadership Profile for the next superintendent which will be presented to the School Board in a Community Engagement Report during a special School Board meeting held on December 17, 2020. The Report will be made available to the public and published on this webpage.
III. Recruitment Of Candidates
Using the PWCS Leadership Profile, BWP & Associates will publicize the search, advertise nationally and use a national network of professional associations to identify outstanding candidates whose qualifications meet the PWCS Leadership Profile. This process is expected to take place from December 2020 through the end of January 2021.
IV. Selection Of The New Superintendent
After BWP & Associates identifies the most highly qualified candidates meeting the PWCS Leadership Profile, the School Board will meet in closed session to discuss the same and is expected to conduct interviews and possibly site visits before making a final selection. The names and identity of all candidates will remain confidential. The School Board will announce the selection of the successful candidate in an open session of the School Board as far in advance of the July 1, 2021 date as is feasible.
All PWCS Parents – anyone unable to access the meeting December 1 is urged to register for the Community Forum scheduled for 1 p.m. or 6 pm on Thursday, December 3, 2020. Citizens requiring an interpreter should sign up for the evening Forum, as interpreters will not be available at the 1 p.m. Forum. After registering you will receive a link to join the meeting at the designated time. Thursday, December 3 from 1 – 3 p.m.
Those who have registered to attend a meeting with the superintendent search firm will receive a Zoom link. The link may show a start time of 9 am, please disregard this time, and use the link at the time of your scheduled meeting.