Parents, staff hold “community conversation” on next Manheim Twp. superintendent

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MANHEIM TWP., Pa. - More than a hundred people got together to hold an open dialogue on who should be the next superintendent for the Manheim Township School District.

Parents and school district staff held a community conversation Tuesday about the direction of the township's schools and what they want to see in their next leader, after the district’s previous search acrimoniously ended amid accusations and controversy.

“We are sincere that we want their input,” Dr. Martin Hudacs, who is serving as acting superintendent for the Manheim Township School District, said. “On the one hand there is a sense of distrust, a sense of anger, but on the other hand, they also recognize that all the players involved, the board, the community, everybody has the kids’ interest at heart.”

The district's school board was accused of violating the Sunshine act for holding a closed-door meeting about the superintendent search in January.

The District Attorney let them off with a warning, but there is still concern from parents.

“What's to say this process is going to make the change that we need,” Kristin Mathew, a parent with three students at various schools in the district, said. “I look forward to the process, I'm glad it's going on, but I don't have confidence that it's going to work.”

Parents and staff brainstormed questions for job candidates and identified characteristics the ideal candidate should have.

“Being very student-centered, having a wide range of experiences, not only as a classroom teacher, but as a building administrator,” Samantha McNally, a teacher in the district, said. “Those things are very important to me.”

It's a process that the district says increases engagement and hopefully finds the best person available.

“The opportunity for the board and the community to be working side by side that opportunity to show the community that truly their engagement and their opinions are significant in moving us forward in whatever direction that we go,” Hudacs said.

The district says it will take this input seriously and use it as they try to find a new superintendent by the summer.