Community Forum Last Night at Ladue High to Discuss Hiring of the Next Superintendent

Everyone in the district will have the ability to chime in either by attending meetings; emailing, faxing or writing the search firm.

In accordance with a strict timeline set by the Ladue School Board, a newly-hired superintendent will be in place sometime by the end of February.

Working backwards, applications to fill the position vacated by Dr. Marsha Chappelow  are due by January 23 and in a four hour meeting all legitimate candidates will be reviewed by members of the school board on February 5.

Contrary to what some might have been thinking, the Ladue School board is conducting a throughly transparent search and seeking input from all parents, teachers, students and district stakeholders. 

There are mechanics in place for anyone to comment, even if they missed the public meeting at Ladue High Tuesday night, or the early morning meeting at the district office today. (Details of the Tuesday meeting tomorrow).

Some 50 parents, stakeholders, teachers, board members and staff took part in a spirited give-and-take session, directed by Dr. James “Chris” Christman, department chair of special services and leadership studies at Pittsburgh State University (Kansas) and a member of the search firm of McPherson & Jacobson, Omaha, NE.

Make no mistake about this, the Omaha firm will help the board create the criteria, screen the candidates and narrow the field. The board of education alone will select Ladue’s next superintendent.

Comments from the audience

Those at the meeting had some strong thoughts of what to do.

Allison Collinger, parent, marketer and professional communicator said “teachers want someone hired they can trust quickly.”

John Yates, a member of the Ladue High School Alumni Association board of directors said there’s been plenty of disappointment with the last three hires.

He was referring to Stewart Weinberg who resigned under great duress; David Benson who skipped out for another position in Iowa and Chappelow who retired and left the job prematurely.

Attorney Hal Burroughs, a member of the City of Ladue Council wants to see the district hire someone with a “strong vision of educational excellence.”

To the speaker, there was a sense that Ladue was a great school district that had slipped somewhat lately. Everyone wants to hire a highly-qualified superintendent and head the district firmly in the right direction.

Somehow, some way everyone concerned in Ladue would like to select the next superintendent with the qualities of Dr. Ivan C. Nicholas and Dr. Charles D. McKenna who served 58 years combined and with unqualified distinction.

Only time will tell if that happens.

Patch.com will detail the search process as outlined by Dr. Christman on Thursday in the Patches of Ladue-Frontenac, Creve Coeur and Olivette.

CreveCoeurDad January 09, 2013 at 05:08 PM
The district is still ranked high nationally and still has the highest scores in the state. To compare it Hazelwood or Bayless is simply off base. The district is not going to hell in a handbasket and there was no Golden Age. Problems - yes, the apocalypse - no. Rumor around the high school is that six seniors were just Early Action admitted to MIT. Sorry, but if true, that doesn't happen by accident, even if our district does start off with quality kids and families to begin with. You don't just buy your way into MIT.
Jay January 09, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Ladue is not staying up to the level we once where. We are slipping. Ladue was a place of innovation, now it is just like everyone else. The administration is pushing for pre made programs to teach. What made Ladue special is that teachers where able to teach the way that was best for kids. Programs don't meet all learners needs. Look at some of the research the district has done. In past meetings they cited Hazelwood and Bayless in their studies. This is where they got the programs that they are using now. In the 80's the district was NATIONALLY ranked in the top TEN. Now we are in the top 180ish. That is slipping.
J Moore January 09, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Jay - no I am not saying the board was better then than it is now. I am saying the board was horrible back then. Under McKenna there was open discrimination against Olivette and to some extend Creve Coeur families. Weinberg did not have a questionable past and the only problems he has had since then are due to the fact he is outspoken and is not willing to limit his vision for the schools. The board in the past was definitely a good old boys' club. The current board also has issues. We still are one of the top districts in the nation. In fact that is what has made us go down in some ranking. When looking at "MAP" test scores in high score, which are now mostly End of Course Exams, it looks like we are doing poorly, especially in 9th grade math. Problem is that the test that they are looking at was actually taken by most of our 9th graders when they were in 8th grade but those score are not considered. The only students that are taking the test in 9th grade at Ladue are the ones who are not up to scale with our districts standards in math so that it ends up looking like our students in general are poor in math skills.
CreveCoeurDad January 09, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I have never seen a study that ever ranked Ladue in the Top 10 nationally. If you can point to one, I'll be glad to be wrong, but I don't think national ratings really existed in the 1980s they way they exist now.
James Baer January 09, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Read on, read on. Two more stories from this meeting tomorrow on Patch.


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