The Baltimore school board will launch the first public phase of its search for the next schools CEO —a community input campaign that will allow city residents and school communities to weigh in on issues and the characteristics and qualifications they believe are important for the next superintendent to have.

The campaign, announced Tuesday, will begin with an online survey that will be available through Oct. 15. Additionally, the school board will hold a series of forums across the city in early October. Non-public focus groups will also be held with political leaders and community organizations.

"The board understands how much interest community stakeholders have in reform 2.0, and we want to make sure that everyone who wants to be is engaged in this process," said Shanaysha Sauls, chair of the city school board.

The forums and focus groups will be led by the executive search firm Ray and Associates Inc. The firm was awarded a $46,800 contract to conduct the search for a new CEO after Andrés Alonso resigned in May.

Tisha Edwards, Alonso's former chief of staff, signed a one-year, $225,000 contract in June to serve as interim CEO while the search is conducted.

The input from the community will guide the board in building a profile for the new schools chief, Sauls said, which will be used in recruiting candidates and making them fully aware of the city's expectations.

"In some ways the next lift is going to be the heaviest," said Sauls, citing a new focus on achievement and the district's 10-year plan to overhaul its dilapidated facilities. "So it requires commitment and buy-in of everyone."

She said the board would be looking to retain the next superintendent for at least four years, though eight would be ideal. Alonso, who held the job for six years, was the longest-serving superintendent in two decades, but left two years shy of the term of his most recent contract.

While the ultimate decision will rest with the school board, and there are no plans to make the search open, Sauls said the board is "accountable to the community for the decision we make."

She said the board is hoping to attract a local and national pool of candidates and conclude the search by March.

erica.green@baltsun.com

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Community forums

Oct. 1: 6 p.m. at Polytechnic Institute

Oct. 2: 6 p.m. at Digital Harbor High School

Oct. 3: 6 p.m. at Frederick Douglass High School

Oct. 3: 6 p.m. at Southeast Anchor Branch – Enoch Pratt Free Library

Oct. 3: 8:30 a.m. at school headquarters, 200 E. North Ave.

m. at school headquarters, 200 E. North Ave.