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CMSD Board of Education announces community involvement as next step in CEO search

By Maddi Hebebrand | Cleveland 19 News

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – The Cleveland Board of Education announced Tuesday night they will invite the community to serve on interview panels and submit questions for their final CEO candidates.

The board said the finalist interviews are expected to take place in late April.

“Community input played a vital role in finalizing the job profile we are using to recruit and screen candidates for the CEO position,” Board Chair Anne Bingham said. “Hearing the voices of students, families, educators, neighbors, and partners will be just as important when our interviews with candidates begin this spring. We felt it was important to take a slightly different approach in this interview process to ensure that all members of our community get a chance to weigh in on who will be our next CEO.”

The board said over 5,000 members of the CMSD community participated in meetings, surveys and focus groups starting in January, when they announced plans to engage the community in a search for a CEO to replace Eric Gordon, who will step down at the end of June.

They reported key themes from the feedback showing that the community’s expectations are high for the next school leader.

Monica Santana Rosen, CEO of Alma Advisory Group, said the community input represents a wide and racially diverse demographic of the CMSD community.

“We have been pleased to see not only students, staff and parents weigh in, but also residents from every Ward in the city and from communities outside of Cleveland that are part of the school district,” she said. “The Board is looking forward to re-engaging community members in the finalist interview phase of our search.”

Multiple interview panels will include students, parents and caregivers, teachers, principals, union leadership and community partners selected through a lottery process.

Anyone in the community can nominate themselves or others to participate in a panel or candidate interviews.

The board also plans to livestream portions of the interviews later this spring, hoping to give the community to learn more about the candidates in real time.

The Board and representatives of Alma Advisory Group, while continuing to recruit applicants, have posted on the CEO search site, three ways that community members can participate in CEO candidate interviews when they begin next month.

  • Submit nominations or self-nominations for potential participation on interview panels
  • Suggest interview questions that interview panels could consider asking CEO candidates
  • Watch live-streamed and recorded CEO candidate interviews and submit feedback

The window for interview panel nominations will open on March 15, and close on April 5.

Similar to surveys posted on the site, nomination forms will be available in multiple languages and in a paper format.

Those who serve on interview panels and participate in the candidate interviews will be selected through a lottery process, and will receive training.

Once complete, the Board will submit its final recommendation for CMSD’s new CEO to Mayor Justin Bibb in early May for his concurrence on the selection.