Superintendent candidate answers public's questions


by Adrianna Hopkins

Posted on June 6, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 7 at 11:21 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-  One of the two women in the running to be the next superintendent of JCPS met with the public for the first time. Christine Johns-Haines answered parents and teachers' questions and shared her vision for the future.
Johns-Haines is the candidate from Utica Community Schools in Michigan. She took a lot of questions and prefaced a lot of her answers by saying she is not completely familiar with the school district yet and therefore cannot provide specific solutions to the problems JCPS has.
"What I want to say to you in closing is I don't know everything, but I do know that if we work together we can achieve great things," said Johns-Haines.
For an hour and a half, JCPS superintendent candidate Christine Johns-Haines fielded questions from an audience of more than 100 people mostly JCPS teachers. Many questions were repeats. She was asked about JCPS's student assignment plan and diversity - what about the plan would she change, if anything, and how would she involve parents.
"I think on the issue of student assignment the board has adopted a plan. I think the involvement of parents is... while continuing to involve parents, we still have to value students participating in diverse schools," said Johns-Haines.
She said her goal is to prepare all students for post-secondary education, and she would work to make sure all JCPS students had great opportunities. She called her leadership style "upfront" and "extremely collaborative." One person asked her how she would address the low performing schools in JCPS.
"First I need to understand problems and how to move forward. I'm not coming in here with a program and saying I'm going to fix everything. That makes no sense," said Johns-Haines.
She explained she has been a principal in a school identified as needing improvement and was able to make significant changes. When asked about addressing discipline issues and bullying, she said she wants to separate out pervasive bullying from just interactions and exchanges.
"She's very educated, I think she would be a great benefit to the county," said a JCPS teacher.
When Johns-Haines was asked why she would leave Utica Community Schools in Michigan, she had this to say:
"I feel great about this community. I see tremendous potential. We can achieve high levels with all supports that are here. We need to refocus our agenda and establish priorities and we follow that... and everyone has to work together for all kids."
The other superintendent candidate, Donna Hargens, will meet with the community Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Male High School.