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Community members discuss qualities of next Brandywine School District superintendent

Delaware Public Media

The Brandywine School District hosted two public forums this week seeking input about what characteristics to look for in its next superintendent.

Mark Holodick, who served as superintendent for 10 years, is leaving for a job at the University of Delaware. District officials say his last day is Friday. 

John Marinucci with the Delaware School Board Association is helping with the search, and says the Brandywine school board will take public input into account when crafting the job description.  Marinucci says the district wants input on whether to conduct a local or national search, and whether the candidate should have K-12 classroom experience. 

Howard Laws says he has worked in the facilities department at Brandywine for 12 years. He thinks the next superintendent should come from within the district — like Holodick did. 

“And if you look in the history of the Brandywine School District from Joe DeJohn to Dr. Furgele, these were people who grew up in the community, taught in the community, did everything in the community,” said Laws. “When they became the superintendent, they always thought [of] this community first, and they always did what was in the best interest. ”

Laws also says the next superintendent should come in with a plan for the next tax referendum. 

Mount Pleasant Elementary teacher Julie Klabunde says the next superintendent needs to deal with staffing issues, such as a shortage of substitute teachers.

“We are going to need someone who can lead a team of innovative thinkers who are going to say, okay, let’s think outside of the box. What is something we can do that is something that has not been tried or that has been tried someplace else that in Delaware we have never done that.”

Another issue raised was the achievement gap between different populations of students. Several attendees said they wanted the next superintendent to continue supporting the district's gifted and special education programs.

School board president Ralph Ackerman has said the district hopes to have the new superintendent in place by July 1. Assistant Superintendent of School Operations Lincoln Hohler takes over as interim superintendent  Feb 1. 


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