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Abby board preps for superintendent search

Abbotsford school board members met Monday for a virtual focus meeting to discuss what qualities they’re looking for in their next superintendent.

Among the qualities the board will be looking for in potential candidates is “someone who is willing to get out into the community with a presence” and “interpersonal communications.”

Other qualities include a long term commitment to the area, an ability to work well with the staff and school board, and someone who is personable.

The board is in the early stages of looking for a replacement for superintendent Sherry Baker, who announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year last month.

The board also devised a series of questions they plan on posing to candidates. Among those, the first one pertains to Abbotsford’s large Hispanic community. Specifically, the board’s question is: “What personal experiences or skills enable you to successfully lead a culturally diverse school system?”

The board’s follow-up question relates to how well a candidate can relate to the community and build relationships, with members expressing their desire to know just how a candidate would “build relationships and trust with the board of education, school employees, and other community members.”

The final question the board devised relates to improving the district’s academic performance and support for learning.

The board felt that Abbotsford has several qualities that make the district attractive to candidates, with its strong bilingual program, a growing community and great facilities, such as the fitness center.

The board recognized that any incoming superintendent will have several challenges on their plate once they arrive.

The two biggest issues facing the district are the construction of a new FEMA storm shelter, — and the use of the interior for classrooms for the growing student population — as well as the recently drained high school pool, whose future remains a question mark.