A handful of parents who attended a community forum on the selection of the next Minneapolis school superintendent said the person should have a proven track record and a deep understanding of the city.

Sheila Crabbe, who works in the district, said the new superintendent should “have a sense of what’s going on in Minneapolis” and be accessible.

The school board hosted the forum this week for parents and community members to talk about what they want in the person who will lead the district, something school officials will be wrestling with over the coming months.

The district began searching for a new leader after former superintendent Bernadeia Johnson resigned in December. Interim superintendent Michael Goar took over Feb. 1, and would like the job permanently.

Forum attendees brainstormed issues that a new superintendent should address, such as class sizes and working with the influx of students from different communities. The new leader should set aside ample time for school visits and engage educators, teachers and parents, attendees said.

Another characteristic mentioned: a history of success.



St. Paul board looks to add student voices

The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts differ on how to bring the voices of young people into school-board-level conversations.

Minneapolis has a student member on its board who cannot vote but who last week was in the thick of a discussion critical of a company that supplied books that many people found offensive.

That same night, the St. Paul school board took its first step toward adding student voices to its decisions. A committee approved the creation of a student advisory team through which officials would work to get input on major efforts like a proposal to push back high school start times.

Board Member Keith Hardy, who sat on a task force that studied the matter, said members thought it best not to tap just one student but a variety of them, including not just “high fliers,” he said, but perhaps a student who struggles or another who is homeless or in transitional housing.

“We want a range,” he said.


Teacher to attend U.N. climate change event

Billy Koenig, a Shakopee High School science teacher, will be heading to Paris to represent the United States at a climate change conference attended by leaders from nearly 200 countries.

Koenig is one of 10 education ambassadors picked by the White House to attend this year’s Conference to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Koenig, in his 10th year teaching biology and environmental ethics at Shakopee, will visit Paris from Nov. 30 through Dec. 11 to hear representatives discuss climate change and how to stabilize its effects.

One of the conference’s goals is to come to a new international agreement to limit the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius, about 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Koenig and other educators will share their experiences at the conference with citizens around the world through blog posts and webcasts.