Board hopes to avoid past pitfalls in superintendent searchWith the process to find a company specializing in school superintendent searches underway, the deadline for applications is Tuesday, Oct. 14.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
With the process to find a company specializing in school superintendent searches underway, the deadline for applications is Tuesday, Oct. 14.
The District 833 School Board is searching for a replacement for Superintendent Tom Nelson, who retires June 30, after four years in the district.
The board set a goal of selecting Nelson’s replacement and signing a contract by mid-March of next year with the person taking the job on July 1.
The search that resulted in Nelson’s selection was rocky, partly due to factors that included a divided board and two candidates dropping out of the selection process including the finalist.
The process began anew when the search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates suggested the board consider Nelson, who was the unanimous choice after one board meeting.
Current board members Jim Gelbmann, Tracy Brunnette, Denise Kapler and Ron Kath, board chair, were in office at the time. Board members Marsha Adou, Leslee Boyd and Ellen Ayers were not.
This time, the board should take more time during the process if there are disagreements, Brunnette said after the special meeting, Oct. 2, to approve a process to select a search firm.
With few modifications in the “request for proposal” letter sent out last time, board members agreed to send the revised letter to nine firms recommended by the Minnesota School Boards Association.
The winning firm will interview prospective candidates within the district who have superintendent licensure and move on to an external search if necessary.
Board members also want a list of all fees for the search, including an estimate of expenses and help negotiating the superintendent’s contract.
At the Sept. 25 regular board meeting, board members, in office at the time of the search, said they prefer that the search firm representative assigned to the district not be a working superintendent as was the case last time.
Board members will get copies of all search-firm proposals and set a meeting to whittle them down to three to five candidates.
The board will set an evening in early November to interview the chosen firms’ representatives allowing 15 to 20 minutes each. Following interviews, the board will meet to pick a firm.
“Once we pick the firm, the search will be on,” Gelbmann said.
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.