FISD holds public forum for superintendent search

By Richard Zowie— The latest step in the Fredericksburg Independent School District’s search for a new superintendent was a Tuesday, Oct. 1 public forum.

The forum consisted of Texas Association of School Boards executive search services director Butch Felkner meeting with three groups: staff, then the public, then the school board. He stipulated that those speaking or sending in comments did not need to give their names, so as to not influence trustees. The new hire will replace Dr. Marc Williamson, who is retiring after this semester.

Felkner asked the public three questions. He explained to the small gathering that these questions were for information purposes and that there were no right or wrong answers.

First question: What do you consider to be the top one or two strengths of this district?

Among the answers: Unity, support, volunteerism, fiscal responsibility, many teachers going above and beyond, German principles that established this community and carry it on, strong compassion, values, parental and community involvement, administrators and teachers who are very approachable and accessible, a good variety of both curriculum and extracurricular activities, many staff members (administrators, counselors, janitors) who also go beyond the call of duty, finding a way to do something when there are no resources.

Second question: What would you say are the top one or two issues or concerns that you see facing this district?

There were many responses to this one.

Among them: Money, keeping up with technology (which was seconded), dealing with obsolete or aging buildings, addressing problems that need to be taken care of, overall health of kids (some expressed concerns about teen pregnancies, drug overdoses and alcohol use), dealing with the changes in demographics, giving teachers a voice at the central office, giving teachers what they need to have their desire to teach re-ignited.

One person told Felkner that Fredericksburg High School needs a new building.

“You can put Band-Aids on it all you want,” they said. “By the time young kids are ready for high school, I’ll be surprised if [the FHS building] can still stand. It’s getting bad.”

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