This week’s step in Woodstock School District 200’s search for a new superintendent should be applauded.
It’s unfortunate that such a scenario is not the norm with more public bodies. In an era when governments seem too comfortable to do the public’s work in the dark, District 200 is shining a light on its search to replace Ellyn Wrzeski, who is retiring.
District 200 not only revealed who its three finalists were, but it held candidate forums for each one.
Starting Tuesday and ending Thursday, each candidate got their own day to visit schools and meet the public. Each community forum included a reception, an introduction of the candidate and questions from the public.
Each finalist also was to speak with staff members, tour schools, and have a second closed-door interview with the board.
The finalists are Huntley School District 158’s Mike Moan, Indian Prairie School District 204’s Michael Popp and Jeff Schwiebert, who is from North Scott Community School District in Eldridge, Iowa.
We hope District 200 taxpayers learned more about each candidate by attending the community forums and asking meaningful questions. An opportunity such as this is rare, and residents should have taken advantage of District 200’s transparent process.
Could these kind of community forums turn into nothing more than publicity events? Of course. We hope not, however.
We hope more public bodies take such an approach. If they do, we hope taxpayers show up and ask tough, relevant questions of the candidates. And we hope the public bodies listen to how the candidates answer the public’s questions. The substance of each answer is important, but so is how the candidate conducts himself in the setting.
An approach such as the one District 200 took is rare. In the future, it should be the norm.