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Cleveland Board of Education asks community to serve on interview panels, submit questions for CMSD CEO candidates

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

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metropolitan School District provided an update on the search for its next leader during its board of education meeting on Monday night.

According to Cleveland Board President Anne Bingham, interviews with approximately 12-15 CEO candidates will take place via Zoom sometime in the next few weeks. Bingham said there will likely be a second round of interviews with a smaller group of candidates before the field of finalists is narrowed down to two or three people. 

Interviews with the finalists are expected to take place in late April. The board will then submit its final recommendation for the next CMSD CEO to Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb for his approval.

Part of the Cleveland Board of Education's plan for selecting a replacement for current CEO Eric Gordon will be to once again call on the CMSD community to participate in the process, this time in the finalist interview phase. 

Bingham announced that CMSD is offering three ways that the community can help pick the next CEO:

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

The interview panels, most of which will be selected through a lottery process, will include students, parents and caregivers, teachers, principals, union leadership and community partners. Anyone in the community will have the chance to nominate themselves or others to participate in a panel, and candidate interviews.

The window for interview panel nominations will open on Wednesday, March 15 through Wednesday, April 5. Click here to find out more. 

You can see more about the CMSD CEO search from Tuesday's Cleveland Board of Education meeting below:

Last month, Chicago-based search firm Alma Advisory Group revealed data gained from weeks of community engagement in a variety of forums about the hopes and expectations for the next CMSD leader. Approximately 3,700 CMSD staff and community members provided input through a survey, while three community gatherings were attended by 226 participants. Plus, over 1,200 participants took part in interviews and focus groups.

The community identified three top concerns for CMSD's next CEO: addressing school safety, supporting the health and well being of students and staff, and improving student academic performance. Respondents added that the most important critical skills for the leader of the district are being a strong communicator, putting the best interests of students first, and seeking/responding to feedback from students, staff, and parents. 

Safety and security will be the most pressing challenge for the person who will be tapped to replace Gordon. Community members are concerned about safety, both on school grounds and in the trip to and from school, especially using public transportation. 

CMSD has sought to address the safety problem through a new collaboration with the Cleveland Division of Police, allowing officers access to exterior surveillance cameras in ten district buildings, with more planned for the future.

Gordon announced in September that he will step down when the school year ends on June 30, 2023. Gordon, who has held the position of CEO of Cleveland schools since 2011, said he wanted to provide the school board and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb "with sufficient time to conduct a thorough, high-quality search for the next CEO."

"The conditions are precisely right to hand off the baton and to ensure that the next CEO takes forward the progress and momentum we have made and built together," Gordon said in his final State of the Schools address.

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