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Community members weigh in on ideal qualities for next KPS superintendent

Kalamazoo Public Schools admin building.jpg
Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 14, 2023

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The search for a new Kalamazoo Public Schools superintendent continues. The district hopes to get input from the community by hosting listening sessions.

The listening sessions will allow the community to talk, suggest interview questions and let board members know the type of candidate they think will best serve the district.

Parents provide input on superintendent search

The first round of sessions kicked off Tuesday.

This comes after the former superintendent of KPS, Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri, resigned in December of 2022.

Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri
Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri

“We’re in the early phase of the process where we’re really trying to collect information to see what are the characteristics of the superintendent that we need in Kalamazoo,” Dale Caldwell of Ray and Associates, the firm hired by KPS to help conduct the search, said.

Caldwell opened the floor Tuesday for community members to identify what they think are the district's most critical issues.

Listening Session

Many people brought up graduation rates, academic growth and students not taking advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise.

“I just wanted to make a suggestion to pick a leader who is really strong on early literacy and who will make big gains in reading achievement across demographics,” Susan O’Connor, a KPS parent, said.

O’Connor added that literacy at the elementary level needs more attention. “I want a superintendent who is looking at curriculums and ways of teaching, reading and all subjects, who sees what works,” she added.

When asked about what characteristics and leadership styles they want the candidate to have, many people said they want to see a superintendent present in the schools, as well as in the community.

Caldwell says the search will be a two-month process; they hope to identify a candidate in May.

The next listening sessions will be:

March 14

  • 10 a.m. - Virtual
  • 11:30 a.m. - Allen Chapel AME, 804 W. North Street
  • 5 pm. - First United Baptist, 821 S. Burdick
  • 7 p.m. - Kalamazoo Central Auditorium, 2432 N. Drake Road
  • 7 p.m. - Phoenix High School, 1411 Oakland Drive

March 15

  • 1 p.m. - Eastwood Branch, Kalamazoo Public Library, 1112 Gayle Avenue
  • 4 p.m. - Washington Writers’ Academy, 1919 Portage Street
  • 4 p.m. - Virtual
  • 6 p.m. - Lincoln International Studies School Auditorium, 912 N. Burdick Street
  • 7 p.m. - Loy Norrix Auditorium, 606 E. Kilgore Road

March 16

  • 11 a.m. - Kalamazoo Promise, 180 E. Water Street
  • 6 p.m. - Virtual

If you can’t attend any of the listening sessions, an online surveyis open until Monday, March 20.