Superintendent Candidate Answers Questions at Community Forum

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GREEN RIVER– The final interview for the Sweetwater County School District #2 Superintendent took place Tuesday night.

Craig Barringer, Superintendent of the Libby Public School District in Libby Montana, was the final candidate to be interviewed for the position. At the community forum, he emphasized the importance of providing staff with the means to make positive changes within the schools.

He said the ultimate goal is to get kids to walk across the stage to accept their high school diplomas. To achieve this, he said there is always room to improve. Even when things are going well, he said the district should be focusing on what can improve so they can keep preparing students for higher education and the work force.

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When making changes and district goals, he said he likes to include representation for teachers from each school, as well as other positions such as paraprofessionals, so everyone gets a say.

Even though he may have an idea he thinks is good, the staff are the ones implementing them, and therefore he believes collaborative goal setting and decision making is necessary.

Barringer said his role as Superintendent is to be the CEO of the school district. Therefore, he said it is his job to look five years down the road and see what education will look like, and then make sure the staff has what they need to deal with these changes.

He also stressed the importance in keeping the community informed along the way. He believes the community should have schools they are proud to have their kids attend. To ensure that, he believes transparency is crucial.

To have a strong school district that is producing great kids, he said they must be inclusive to parents and have a sense of trust developed.

When making decisions, he said he and the district must be accountable for the outcomes, good or bad. They must be able to answer to criticism.

When it comes to an open door policy versus following a chain of command policy, Barringer said he has an open door policy but will always make sure parents discuss problems with the teachers and principals first.

“It would create a bad culture if I agreed with everything that parents says,” Barringer said.

For classroom walk throughs, he said the goal should be to check how the teachers and students interact. Walk throughs should aid the staff in figuring out what is working and what isn’t. His role is to address the issues and fix them.

Barringer said building a positive culture in the district is crucial in keeping both staff and students motivated to achieve success. He said, “culture can be delicate”, but a district with a strong culture can face and overcome problems.