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Call for Parent Volunteers for Barton Principal Candidate Interviews
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:40 AM


Call for Parent Volunteers for Barton Principal Candidate Interviews

Dear Barton parents,

As you know from the information we have been passing on to you, this year the Minneapolis Public School district has changed its process for selecting new principals. One of the important (and exciting) new components is a stakeholder interview opportunity.

The district has invited us to put together a panel of up to 12 people from the Barton community to interview the candidates for the Barton principal position. This panel will be made up of teachers, staff, and parents who will work together as a team to:

  • Participate in each interview (about 1 hour for each), asking specific questions that the MPS human resources department has approved ahead of time (these will be questions provided by MPS, as well as 2 questions provided by Barton).
  • Assess how well each candidate’s responses align with the criteria and qualities deemed most important by the Barton community, as outlined in the Barton Leadership Profile document.
  • Debrief after each interview, discussing how each candidate responded to the questions.
  • Make a recommendation about each candidate to Associate Superintendent Lucilla Yira (strongly recommend, recommend, do not recommend). (Note: Final hiring decision is made by Superintendent Michael Goar.)
  • Be trained by MPS on how the interviews will be conducted (this will take 45 minutes)
  • Following the interviews, we have the opportunity to give each candidate an informal tour of the school.

The goal is to build an excellent interview committee that can knowledgeably assess the candidates and judge each candidate’s fit for our school. Parents who attended the Leadership Council meeting on Friday, May 15, to discuss criteria and a selection process declared strong support that the interview committee should be weighted heavily toward teachers and staff. Parents and teachers at the meeting agreed that the committee should be made up of a diverse group of people. This is to ensure that a range of parent and learner perspectives are represented on the committee.

Examples of different perspectives may include parents with: younger students, older students, English Language Learners students, students using special support services, students of color, etc. Additionally, it is important for interview committee members to have an understanding of the challenges & opportunities facing an incoming principal to Barton, as well as an understanding and familiarity with the Leadership Profile. Criteria in the profile include open education experience, community outreach, staff leadership and development, ability to build relationships with all Barton students, strong advocate for the school, etc.

The teachers and staff will be selecting representatives from their ranks, and co-chairs of the Leadership Council are currently looking for parents willing and able to donate their time and talents to apply to fill out the group. It is our intention that approximately 3-5 members of the final interview committee will be current Barton parents (who are not also teachers or staff).

Availability and time commitment will be a critical issue for everyone considering whether they would like to participate:

  • Interviews will likely take place in the next 2-4 weeks, late May through mid- to late-June.
  • People on the interview committee will need to commit a significant amount of time – about 45 minutes for the MPS training, an hour for each interview (we don’t know yet how many interviews there will be, or if they’ll be scheduled all on one day or spread over several days), and debriefing time after each interview.

For the parent component of the panel, we ask any parents who are interested and available to participate to send an email expressing your interest to Barton parent Fiona Pradhan ( by 12 noon, Tuesday, May 26. Specifically, this email should answer two questions:

  1. Why do you want to be on the interview team?
  2. What experience or perspectives would you bring to the group?

It was agreed in Friday’s meeting that the three co-chairs of the Leadership Council (who represent the parents, teachers, and support staff) will look at the list supplied by the teachers and staff and then review the array of skills, areas of expertise, and variety of perspectives from the pool of parents. We will then carefully put together a strong interview panel that has a thorough blend of diverse skills for assessing candidates and diverse representation of all Barton’s students.

If you have any questions or would like to talk through whether participating on the interview committee might be a good fit for you, please contact one of the co-chairs.

Moving forward together,

— Julia Mullin, parent co-chair,
— Kristin Sonquist, staff co-chair,
— Nasra Hassan, staff co-chair,