Final superintendent candidate interviewed

With interviews out of the way, the search for South Bend Schools’ next superintendent could soon come to an end.

The final prospect for the soon-to-be-vacant seat Dean Gorrell, the current superintendent for Verona Area Schools spoke to the school board Tuesday evening.

“I’m likely going to be working as a superintendent for the next 10, 12 to 15 years,” said Gorrell.

That’s the long-term commitment Gorrell made.

And many in attendance believe the district will need long-term leadership moving forward.

“Longevity and consistency is an important factor,” said Kathy Jaworski, Student Services at Greene Intermediate Center.

The school board raised concerns about finding a new superintendent that would make South Bend an extended stay.

Candidate Gorrell says if chosen, he has no plans to leave early especially considering the challenges this district faces.

“The exodus of students to other opportunities, the achievement levels of students and the suspension and expulsion rate,” said Gorrell.

Gorrell wants to focus on tackling those issues by taking a long-term look at providing opportunities for student growth in educational achievement.

“Early childhood education, that’s really where the research is very clear that the return on investment for every dollar spent on early childhood education is paid off multiple fold,” said Gorrell.

This board agreed and was encouraged by the commitment to students expressed by all three prospects.

“Both their focus on student achievement and also the way that they talked about partnering with the community and working with their staff, these are some of the things we identified in our superintendent profile and are very important to us,” said Jay Caponigo, South Bend Community School Corporation’s School Board President.

The tough decision of picking a replacement is still at hand but quite a few folks are satisfied with the pool to pick from.

“I really have a lot of hope for the future with these candidates that were put before the public,” said Jaworski. “I feel we will have a quality hire out of the process.”

Wednesday, the board will hold an executive session to go over the three interviews.

They’re looking for feedback ahead of that meeting and ask that the community email or call them with their comments on the three prospects.

After a decision is made the board will have to agree on and post a contract for public review.

After 10 days the board can then make an official offer.

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