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A disappointing response

The response from the Prince Edward County School Board to Longwood University’s offer to perform a free national search to find the next division superintendent is very disheartening.

Longwood’s offer, which is very generous, is one that should have been met with a more gracious and appreciative reception instead of suspicion, disinterest and ignorance.

Longwood has no intention of handpicking and deciding who the next school chief will be for Prince Edward. That was never its intention. Nor does it want to have a monopoly over the search.

Longwood’s sole intention is to help Prince Edward County Public Schools, which is very commendable.

One board member said that it wasn’t Longwood’s job to offer such services to the school division.

The school board is fortunate to have an institution of higher learning in its back yard that would offer to perform such a burdensome, costly and time-consuming task that, if performed by a private search firm, could cost the taxpayers of Prince Edward thousands of dollars.

And Longwood certainly wouldn’t be “winging it” if it were given the task to search for a new school chief. The university routinely performs national searches when seeking new staff, college faculty and administrators.

While the Virginia School Board Association is used far and wide across the state by local school boards looking for new leadership, the school board needs to step back and look at the results from past searches performed by the association.

University President W. Taylor Reveley IV asked Russell Dove, the chairman of the school board, if there was anything the college could do to help, according to the president’s chief of staff Justin Pope. “One idea that came up was … offering to serve as a free search consultant to the process, to try to tap some of his national networks to build a strong pool of candidates for consideration.”

The school board shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.