SUPER SEARCH: Residents Grill First DMPS Candidate

Consider the demands and multiply them by the challenges.

Superintendent of the Des Moines School District would add up to one of the toughest jobs in the state.

“We have immigrants coming in that have never been to school before,” says Christine Comito, a mother of three students in the Roosevelt district,” and we have students that are taking classes that are college level classes every day.”

All district residents are invited to grill the three finalists.

Monday, it was interim superintendent, Tom Ahart’s turn.

“I feel like I know the leverage points,” says Ahart, who took over the position last May, “and I think I can keep things going and accelerate progress more effectively than perhaps somebody having to learn all of that from scratch.”

These nights will give the candidates a chance to speak, and the audience a chance to decide if they like what they see.

“I think a lot of times we get a gut feeling as to how people present themselves,” says district resident, Jane Hein, “whether they sincerely care about the district.”

Considering the past, would it be safe to assume the district is being extra cautious with these candidates?

“I think that’s a fair assessment,” says Ahart.

Nancy Sebring’s cloud is still overhead, despite attempts to ignore it.

“Obviously, things didn’t end the way anyone wanted them to end when Dr. Sebring left Des Moines,” says district spokesman, Phil Roeder, “but that was such an exceptional and unfortunate situation.”

Lead the biggest, most challenging school district in the state and while you’re at it, repair the reputation of the office you’re in.

Someone would have his work cut out for him.