School board mustn’t settle

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Regardless of which search partner the Prince Edward School Board uses to find the county schools’ next superintendent, here’s hoping the board thinks big.

Few school divisions can offer prospective leaders what Prince Edward can offer:

• The chance to turn around a school division that has underperformed for many years.

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• A civil-rights history that many see as baggage, but that strong leaders will see as an opportunity to attract outside resources that school divisions with less name recognition could never attract.

• Access in its own back yard to two institutions of higher learning that are ready, willing and eager to help the public schools reach their potential.

• A community that is hungry for first-rate public education and willing to put some resources behind a visionary leader who presents the right plan for success.

With so much going for it, the school board need not settle for retreads who’ve produced mediocre results elsewhere, or “have-beens” who are coasting to the finish line of their careers. The board should look for nothing but exceptional leaders who are excelling in their current jobs and ready for a new challenge.

As for a search partner, the strong preference here is Longwood University President Taylor Reveley IV. That Reveley has offered his and the university’s services without compensation speaks to his noble intentions and to his passion for quality in public schools in Farmville and Prince Edward County.

Longwood’s only reward will be a public school system that offers university faculty — and prospective faculty — an outstanding place to educate their children.

Reveley, because of his vast network of contacts both inside and beyond Virginia, will identify candidates for the Prince Edward job whom traditional search firms would never find.  And once the school board has settled on its top choice, he is uniquely qualified — and motivated — to sell the candidate on the vast opportunity that awaits here.

STEVE STEWART is publisher of The Farmville Herald. His email address is