School board at crossroads of change for Troy

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Members of the Troy City Schools Board of Education have a challenging task ahead.

With Superintendent Dr. Linda Felton-Smith’s move to a consultant role effective March 1, board members are tasked with finding a new leader for the district.

Finding that leader won’t be difficult. Finding the right leader for Troy may be.

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The Troy City Schools are a critical part of the community here in Troy and Pike County. The success of our public school system is a linchpin in everything from quality of life issues to economic development and recruitment success. Just as some leaders would say the downtown is the heartbeat of the county, we would say the public schools are its backbone.

We need to be able to herald the success of our schools in educating and developing students across the broad spectrum of needs, and we need to be able to point to data – from test scores to graduation rates to scholarships to state championships to increasing enrollment figures – to support those claims.

The leadership that brings the vision and the drive to succeed will start at the top – in the superintendent’s office. Finding a candidate with that vision, with the ability to lead and inspire, with an innate understanding of the necessity of strong public schools, and with the savvy and ability to grasp the strengths and the challenges found inside Troy’s public school system will be the key.

School board members need to take the time to make a thorough and exhaustive list of expectations and qualities sought in the new superintendent. They need to expand their vision beyond the realities to possibilities, to “what could be” and buid a job description based on those possibilities.

This is a critical moment for the members of the school board. They stand at a crossroads, and the path they set for the schools will determine our future success. It’s not an easy task, but it could be one of the most important ones our community will face in the coming year.