FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Fort Wayne Community School board is starting the superintendent nearly a year before they need a superintendent in place.
Dr. Wendy Robinson's contract expires at the end of next school year.
Community members are hoping the board listens to their input throughout the next year.
"It is our hope any new superintendent will come and unite all of the groups involved," said Noah Smith, who has three students going to Snider High School.
Smith said he his optimistic about a new superintendent leading the state's largest school district.
That's partly because of the work Dr. Robinson has put in over the last 16 years.
"I believe Fort Wayne Community Schools and Dr. Robinson has laid a great foundation for the next superintendent. Overall it appears we are very fiscally stable compared to a lot of other school districts," said Smith.
Robinson has been with FWCS for more than 40 years, starting out as a teacher.
She was promoted to superintendent 2003 and made several difficult decisions since, including closing Elmhurst High School and cutting transportation service to many students.
Jennifer O'Harron was a bus driver for the district until she was fired this spring.
She hopes the board will listen to staff members on their search ... particularly teachers.
"We give these teachers their voice back. They are in it. They know what is working. They know what isn't. I think the community is ready for a change," Jennifer O'Harron said.
Smith said a new superintendent will have a big shoes to fill.
"It is our hope any new school superintendent will come and unite all of the groups involved and hopefully work towards building the best school district that can be available in the state," Smith said.
There will be a public meeting on the superintendent search 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Grile Administration Building downtown.
FWCS board president Julie Hollingsworth said Wednesday's executive session will be with the Indiana School Board Association so they can sort out some initial details.
No decision has been made if the board will promote from within like Dr. Robinson was, or if there will be a nationwide search.
Hollingsworth told FOX 55 she hopes to have a new superintendent hired by mid May.