We’re in no hurry to see kinetic Waco Independent School District Superintendent Bonny Cain depart, but we’re also glad school trustees narrowed to six those candidates vying to succeed her. It’s often said that selecting a superintendent is the most important task any public school board undertakes.

Yet one of the most grueling trials facing any board is weathering a superintendent wrong for the job at hand.

Qualities that should figure foremost in trustees’ minds as they scrutinize records, interview contenders and talk with those in school districts who should know their strengths and weaknesses best:

  • An ability to compellingly articulate a dynamic vision to parents, teachers and business leaders, especially as politics makes a complete muddle of the potential of public education for future generations.
  • Managerial abilities that include running a very tight administrative ship; recognizing trends good and bad even before the data make them clear to all; and sizing up an increasingly conflicted state leadership in Austin.
  • A shrewd understanding of talent in the district and beyond, especially when it comes to singling out insightful, hardworking employees and rare job prospects for pivotal positions of leadership, including campus principals.
  • Resilience is a must. Cain could teach others a thing or two about rolling with strong punches delivered by everything from state politicians to our city’s poverty in its most crippling forms.