Members of the Bangor School Committee are pictured during a Nov. 9 meeting at City Hall. Clockwise from left: Marwa Hassanien, Carin Sychterz, John Hiatt, Warren Caruso, Clare Mundell, Tim Surrette and Susan Sorg. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The Bangor School Committee is seeking public input on the city’s search for a new school superintendent.

A survey the school department sent out this week asks Bangor residents, students, parents and school employees what they think the priorities and qualifications of the new leader should be.

It also allows respondents to comment on strengths and weaknesses of the school department, which has garnered a strong academic reputation but drew attention over the past year for a school climate in which Black students at Bangor High School experienced acts of racism.

Through the survey, the community has a chance to recommend focus areas for a new superintendent, such as academic achievement, racial equity and the school department’s financial situation.


The survey is part of the monthslong search for a new leader the school committee outlined after longtime Superintendent Betsy Webb announced last June that she planned to step down.

School committee members have previously said the community will have a chance to weigh in at a public forum. The survey will give direction to the Maine School Management Association, which the committee hired to conduct the superintendent search at the end of last year.

The survey will also help committee members determine whether the school department needs to also hire an external agency focused on diverse hiring practices to assist the Maine School Management Association to make sure candidates with diverse backgrounds from across the country are considered.

As the school department works on a number of anti-racism initiatives — based partly on an independent investigation that confirmed students use the N-word in hallways, on school buses and online — the committee is also working on its hiring policy to make it more inclusive.

“We just looked at that policy back in 2019, and we didn’t really make any changes to it because we weren’t looking at that policy from this angle,” School Committee Chair Carin Sychterz said. “But this new angle has opened up so many things.”

The school committee plans to start interviewing candidates for the superintendent position this spring.

The survey will be available until Jan. 21 through the Bangor School Department website.