Long Beach School Board Involves Public In Search For New Superintendent

The Long Beach School Board is once again searching for a new superintendent, but on Monday night, the search took on a different twist. The board included the public in the decision-making process.

The board wants to stop the turnover of superintendents in the Long Beach School District. The district has had five superintendents in the past ten years. The latest superintendent, Dr. Scott Dearman, resigned last month because of a dispute with the school board over the length of his two-year contract.

Board members hope parents, teachers, and principals will give them some answers. About 40 people showed up at "Quarles Elementary" to share their concerns and discuss their expectations for the new superintendent.

Dr. Edgar Bedenbaugh, who was hired by the board to help with the search, says so far he has received 42 potential applicants or nominees from 18 states. One candidate is from Turkey.

Those who came to the meeting have some clear ideas about what they want in a new leader for Long Beach schools. Sherrie Byrd is a teacher and parent in Long Beach. She says the most important thing is experience. She wants someone who can walk in to the school district, know what's going on, know the laws of Mississippi, and pick up from where they are now.

Donald Logan says the district needs someone who wants to stay in Long Beach. He says the district is through with transitions, and is ready for a permanent superintendent.

Dr. Edgar Bedenbaugh says he's looking for candidates who are strong leaders, who have a track record of leadership in school administration, and who can establish an atmosphere of cooperation with the community and with the board.

The new superintendent will sign a three-year contract, and make between $80,000 to $105,000 a year. The school board hopes to name the new superintendent in early October. That person will start the job in January. The deadline for applications is August 25th.

By: Trang Pham-Bui