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The first two in a series of public forums regarding a search for the school system’s new superintendent had small turnouts.

Upcoming meetingsCommunity forums to seek public input for a search for a new superintendent for Charles County Public Schools will take place at the following times:ź6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Piccowaxen Middle School.ź7 p.m. Oct. 9 at Westlake High School.ź3 p.m. Oct. 10 at La Plata High School (session is for Charles County Public Schools employees only and includes principals, vice principals and certificated staff at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, annex buildings and centers).ź4:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at La Plata High School (session is for Charles County Public Schools employees only and should include all central office and school-based noncertificated employees and all teachers).ź7 p.m. Oct. 10 at La Plata High School.For more information on the superintendent search, go to http://www2.ccboe.com/superintendent/superintendent_search.cfm.

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education planned seven public forums in October to gather input on the school system and what the public would like to see in a new school superintendent.

The first two forums were held Monday night, one at Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head and the other at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf.

Two people attended the forum at Lackey, according to information provided by the school system. Eight people attended the meeting at Thomas Stone.

Mike Moses of Waldorf said he was “floored” that more people didn’t show up to the forum at Thomas Stone.

MABE consultants Michael Glascoe and Kitty Blumsack explained to those who did attend the process the Charles County Board of Education would take in selecting a new superintendent and assured participants that the school board does not now have anyone in mind for the position.

The two consultants asked three questions of participants Monday, soliciting input about the school system, the characteristics the school board should consider in hiring a new superintendent and the challenges the new superintendent will face.

The first question asked was what makes Charles County a great place to work, live and learn. Some of the responses included the county’s proximity to major cities and military bases, diversity and competitive pay.

As for characteristics participants wanted to see in a superintendent, some responses included innovative leadership, a doctoral degree and someone who is a 21st-century thinker. Participants also wanted the new superintendent to have had experience as a principal for at least three years.

Challenges the new superintendent might face, participants said, will be addressing school funding, overcrowding in schools and retaining teachers and students. Parents said that the new superintendent will be challenged to find a way to retain teachers as some teachers move on to other counties for higher pay and housing incentives.

One challenge brought up was handling the dropout rate.

Last year, the school systems reported a less than 3 percent dropout rate. Data for 2012 have not yet been released.

Other challenges included meeting the needs of the student population among groups such as students who need instruction in English for speakers of other languages.

The responses gathered Monday, along with responses emailed to MABE representatives and those coming from the remaining five meetings, will be collected and given to school board members.

School board members, at the suggestion of MABE, will not attend the meetings.

Blumsack said school board members will take all of the input into consideration as they create brochures and other advertising materials to seek candidates for the position.

The process for getting a new superintendent, Blumsack said, “is a process that starts with you.”

Dontae Carroll of Hughesville said he was “disappointed at the lack of parents turning out for a watershed moment in the county.”

He said though the turnout at Thomas Stone was small, he felt there was “constructive dialogue.”

Carroll also said it was reassuring to hear that there is not already a person the school board has slotted for the position.

gphillips@somdnews.com