FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- A second focus group from the community was held for people to give their input about what they'd like to see in a new superintendent for Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Leaders from a suburban Chicago-based firm hired by the school board to do a national search to replace superintendent Wendy Robinson held the second of three public forums to get input.
"While we're developing downtown and we're doing all these great things and we're adding housing, those people will only stay if our school system matches all the other great aspects of our city. So we have to continue to reinforce and grow and improve our school system to kind of stop some of the flight from the city," FWCS parent Ricky Weber says.
The search firm is conducting interviews and holding focus groups to figure out the strengths and challenges for the district, and the characteristics people would like to see in a forward-thinking and innovative new superintendent who will embrace the community and be visible in it.
"Today we had a meeting with students, about 21 students, so we had a great time with them. So we're coming along and getting some good input," says search firm executive Dr. James Morse.
They say people have emphasized the rich history and diversity of the district as positive aspects to build on.
"Strong school district, great administrators, teachers, and students, so it's really a wonderful opportunity for someone. We're excited about being able to recruit someone for Fort Wayne because it's really kind of a special place," Morse says.
While Robinson was promoted from within to the superintendent's position, a parent told us he'd like to see some candidates with larger market experience.
"I would really be excited to see somebody from Maryland or Chicago or a big city that's already gone through in renewing and rebuilding urban schools that would come in here and show some of that expertise. Dr. Robinson for 17 years has guided us and pushed us forward, but to continue to push forward, maybe a fresh set of eyes," Weber says.
It's those kinds of comments the firm will use to narrow its search.
"Develop a profile for the superintendent that they're looking for. And from that we use it as a blueprint to go out and recruit a new superintendent for Fort Wayne," Morse says.
They'll present that profile to the board on December 16th, and expect to present the board in April with a half-dozen candidates.
Wendy Robinson is set to retire this summer.
The third and final public forum is set for six o'clock Thursday night at Northrop high school on Coldwater Road.