School board picks Eberwein

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The City of Alexandria School Board closed the year July 2 by selecting Claire Eberwein as the new board chairman and Charles Wilson as the vice chairman.

Eberwein is a veteran board member having been reelected during the last election. She also enjoyed a term as chairman in the 1996-1997 school year.

Experience helps, said Eberwein, Ive been in public service over 15 years, she added. One of her goals for this year is to bring the board together in pursuing change in the school district in a professional and courteous manner, she said.

Both Eberwein and Wilson were nominated for the chairman position, but Eberwein defeated Wilson by a 5-4 vote, before former vice chairman Blanche Maness nominated Wilson for the vice chair position. Wilson was unanimously elected for the position. Eberwein was nominated by board member Scott Newsham.

After the election, the board looked at board duties in the coming year, including the superintendent selection, revised budget format, strategic planning, the technology plan and the Alexandria Parks and Recreation Department taking responsibility for school grounds maintenance. The agenda included picking a volunteer to be a voting delegate on the Virginia School Board Association. Sheryl Gorsuch volunteered for that position.

Search is on
With the current superintendents contract expiring in June 2008, a new search has begun, starting with the formation of the superintendent search committee. Former board chairman Arthur Peabody, Jr., will participate in the formation of that committee, and wants to keep the size of the committee down while still representing all the parties involved. They started at a 20-member committee, and went as large as 35, but that is really too large, Peabody said.

Superintendent Rebecca Perry noted that the central office is not represented by any of those groups, currently on the committee. The board settled on a 27-member search group.

The school systems strategic plan was another area of focus, and School Board member Eileen Cassidy Rivera questioned whether they focus on updating the current plan or developing a new strategic plan altogether. Rivera looked at the Arlington Public School System strategic plan for possible changes. Rivera also looked at the plan the Charlottesville Public School System developed using MGT of America, the same company that did the recent school division efficiency review report.

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