Our view

Process had yielded strong candidates

March 25, 2014 

  • In summary

    Candidates will have the chance to interact with a diverse group of students, teachers and other members of the community.

A school fire in Edison, N.J., put a kink in the schedule for visits to Rock Hill by the three candidates for schools superintendent. Otherwise, however, the selection process has run smoothly.

Rich O’Malley, superintendent of Edison Public Schools, was slated to spend time with school officials on Monday and Tuesday. But a six-alarm fire that destroyed much of an elementary school in Edison sent O’Malley rushing back home to help with the crisis.

School board members hope he can return next week. Meanwhile, the other two finalists will make the rounds this week with the board.

Tommy Schmolze, Fort Mill assistant superintendent for administration and student services, will visit today, and Kelly Pew, superintendent of Pickens County schools, will visit Thursday.

We are gratified that these visits will entail considerable interaction with members of the community. Each candidate will visit two Rock Hill schools, and each afternoon a group of more than 30 students, teachers and residents will have the chance to speak with and ask questions of each candidate.

The finalists also will spend time with school board members in small groups. Board Chairman Jim Vining noted that these get-togethers are as much about selling the candidates on Rock Hill as they are about candidates trying to make a good impression.

Assuming that O’Malley can return in time, the board hopes to discuss the candidates, their references and credentials, and make a decision soon.

By all appearances, this process, which included a nationwide search for candidates, has produced three strong finalists. It also is encouraging that all three will meet with a diverse group of students, teachers and residents selected by district staff members and take questions from them.

The importance of this part of the process should not be underestimated. How the candidates react to the questions and relate to the groups with whom they come into contact could be crucial to who gets selected.

We also hope that each of the candidates will come away from these visits with a good impression of Rock Hill and a desire to lead a large school district and be an active member of the community.

To date, this has been a solid search for one of the most important posts in Rock Hill. Good luck to the school board in making this important choice.

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