EARLY — Residents of the Early school district told representatives of the Region 15 Education Service Center Monday night what the community wants in the district’s next superintendent.

About three dozen residents attended a town hall meeting in the Early Elementary School cafeteria.

Early school board members have chosen the education service center to conduct the search for the superintendent to replace Wes Beck, who is retiring.

Region 15 Executive Director Dr. Casey Callahan said Region 15 representatives have collected input from the Early school board and Early school district staff members, and they wanted community input to complete a profile.

Region 15 has started the search process, and 15 applications have been received, Callahan said. “That’s a great response already for candidates looking to be superintendent of the Early ISD,” Callahan said.

Callahan asked residents to call out characteristics they want in a new superintendent in categories including leadership/management skills and personal characteristics. Other Region 15 representatives made notes on the answers.

Previous examples of leadership/management skills included writing and speaking ability, being a risk taker and a visionary and being organized and efficient, Callahan said.

“All that is great, but you’ve got to have somebody that can relate to the staff, relate to your athletic director,” a resident said. ”If you have somebody who’s not personable and can’t relate, you’ll have trouble right off the bat.”

Another resident said the new superintendent should be someone “who’s going around talking to the people, finding out what’s going on in the school and the community, and somebody that has a vision for where they want to take the school district … forward thinking, looking at best practices that are out there, how can we incorporate that?”

Accessibility and being seen in the hallways and in the community were given high priority.

“Society’s changed, the kids have changed, the way things are done in the classrooms — it’s a new ballgame,” a resident said. “We need somebody that knows what is going on down the halls. There’s too many book-smart people … I want somebody that’s been there and can relate to a teacher, to a staff, to the rest of the people in these hallways that make a school a school, and not somebody that just opens that book and says ‘I think this is what we need to be doing, it’s what research says.’”

The new superintendent should be someone who “sees how the change has happened in this community and will move with that and not try to hold on to what used to be but realizes we have become a new community with a whole different makeup,” a resident said.

Past superintendent experience is a requirement, several agreed. On the topic of experience, it was noted that a superintendent who is simply trying to finish out his career and retire isn’t what Early wants, nor does the community want someone who will use Early as a stepping stone, residents said.