Return to Headlines

School Board invites CMSD community to serve on interview panels, submit questions for CEO candidates




As the Cleveland Board of Education continues to recruit candidates for CMSD’s new CEO, preparations are beginning for the finalist interviews which are expected to take place in late April.

The Board has painstakingly created a plan to welcome all members of the CMSD community into the process.

“Community input played a vital role in finalizing the job profile we are using to recruit and screen candidates for the CEO position,” Board Chair Anne Bingham said.

“Hearing the voices of students, families, educators, neighbors, and partners will be just as important when our interviews with candidates begin this spring. We felt it was important to take a slightly different approach in this interview process to ensure that all members of our community get a chance to weigh in on who will be our next CEO.”

More than 5,000 members of the CMSD community participated in meetings, surveys and focus groups starting in January, when the Board and representatives of Alma Advisory Group announced plans to engage the community in a search for a CEO to replace Eric Gordon, who will step down at the end of June.

Key themes that emerged from the feedback showed that the community’s expectations are high for the next school leader. Monica Santana Rosen, CEO of Alma Advisory Group, said the community input represents a wide and racially diverse demographic of the CMSD community.

“We have been pleased to see not only students, staff and parents weigh in, but also residents from every Ward in the city and from communities outside of Cleveland that are part of the school district,” she said.

“The Board is looking forward to re-engaging community members in the finalist interview phase of our search.”

Multiple interview panels, most selected through a lottery process, will include students, parents and caregivers, teachers, principals, union leadership and community partners. Anyone in the community will have the chance to nominate themselves or others to participate in a panel and candidate interviews.

In addition, the Board plans to live-stream portions of the finalist interviews later this spring. By doing so, the Board hopes to give our students, families, educators and partners the opportunity to view and learn more about the candidates in real time.

Live streaming the interview for a high-level community executive position is an unprecedented practice here locally. This move demonstrates the Board’s continued commitment to inclusivity and transparency during this important process.

The Board and representatives of Alma Advisory Group, while continuing to recruit applicants, have posted on the CEO search site, three ways that community members can participate in CEO candidate interviews when they begin next month.

  1. Submit nominations or self-nomination for potential participation on interview panels.
  2. Suggest interview questions that interview panels could consider asking CEO candidates
  3. Watch live-streamed and recorded CEO candidate interviews and submit feedback.

The window for interview panel nominations opened on Wednesday, March 15, and will close on Wednesday, April 5.

Similar to surveys posted on the site, nomination forms will be available in multiple languages and in a paper format. Those who serve on interview panels and participate in the candidate interviews will be selected through a lottery process and will receive training.

Once complete, the Board will submit its final recommendation for CMSD’s new CEO to Mayor Justin Bibb in early May for his concurrence on the selection.