District’s new leader needs to be here for the long haul

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Board of Education is very close to naming a new superintendent to lead the school district.

In fact, the Call’s Gloria Lloyd reports in this week’s issue that a superintendent could be named as soon as this week, after a focus group comprised of 24 parents, residents, staff members and former board members interviewed three finalists Saturday morning.

Board of Education President Ron Fedorchak told Lloyd that the three finalists are “fantastic candidates” and he believes Mehlville is “going to end up with a very, very good superintendent.”

That’s some great news.

Since the Call first began publishing in 1989, Mehlville has had seven superintendents, including two interim leaders.

Those seven have run the gamut from the very best to the very worst.

Under the best superintendents, Mehlville has done an excellent job of performing its mission of providing an outstanding education to students.

Unfortunately, under the “leadership” of its worst superintendents, Mehlville has struggled academically and placed unrealistic tax measures on the ballot that failed miserably, ultimately antagonizing a majority of the community. Not all the blame can be placed on a superintendent, as some past boards have been just as abysmal and inept at providing the leadership promised at election time.

As a result of such enormous damage, the sad reality is that some residents tend to remember Mehlville’s past failures more than the successes the district has achieved.

The Mehlville School District is at a critical juncture in its history as it faces pressing financial and academic challenges. The guidance the new superintendent provides will be paramount to meeting and overcoming those hurdles and advancing the district forward.

Fortunately, interim Superintendent Norm Ridder has helped pave the foundation for the district’s future success with a proposed strategic plan the Board of Education will consider Feb. 19.

Ultimately, we believe the key to the future success of the Mehlville School District lies with a superintendent who plans to lead the district for quite some time. The impact of such longevity and stability cannot be underestimated.

It is our sincere hope that the next Mehlville superintendent will be here for the long haul.