Internal candidates will be considered first in search for new superintendentAt its Oct. 23 workshop meeting, the District 833 School Board narrowed down the list of consulting firms that will aid in the selection of a new superintendent to replace Tom Nelson after his June 2009 retirement.
By: Stephanie Bennett, Woodbury Bulletin
At its Oct. 23 workshop meeting, the District 833 School Board narrowed down the list of consulting firms that will aid in the selection of a new superintendent to replace Tom Nelson after his June 2009 retirement.
The board was given nine proposals, one from each firm being considered, and ranked them on a scale from one to nine with one being the best score.
The top four firms, which respectively are Kenneth J. LaCroix, The ADM Group, School Exec Connect and Ray and Associates Inc., will now move onto individual interviews conducted by the board.
The format of the interviews was a point of discussion at the workshop meeting as the members tried to fine tune the interview process.
Board chair Ron Kath said he favored a uniform process, with the same pre-decided questions being asked of each firm.
“We should use the same standards for questions,” Kath said. “They should sell themselves to us.”
Individually-tailored questions for each firm was a point of contention though, as some board members felt each firm needed to be questioned on a specific basis.
“There are key differences between each proposal I would want to clarify before making a decision,” said board member Leslee Boyd.
Ultimately, the board decided to ask a uniform set of questions, but allow for follow-up questions during the 25 minute interview.
Each firm will also be given two and a half minutes at the beginning of the interview for an opening statement and another two and a half minutes at the end for closing statements.
The board will vote on the firm they think is best suited for the task immediately following the interviews, Kath said. The vote will begin by each member selecting their top three firms out of four, then their top two and finally narrow down their number one pick.
The pool of potential superintendent candidates will be decided after a consulting firm has been selected, Kath said. But the board also discussed whether or not they would evaluate candidates from within the district first.
“It sends a message to the district that we are looking internally first,” Kath said. Other board members said a pool of both internal and external candidates would better allow for comparison.
“I want to see all my options,” said board member Tracy Brunette.
Board member Marsha Adou agreed with Brunette’s statement and said that all candidates should be brought before the board before a decision between external and internal candidates was made.
Concerns were raised about the number and quality of external candidates that may apply if an internal candidate was simultaneously considered.
“By making it clear that there is no internal pool brings better external candidates,” said board member Jim Gelbman, whose statement was supported by Superintendent Tom Nelson.
“If you bring a pool together with a strong internal candidate…you get caught up in politics. It will limit the pool by bring them all together,” Nelson said.
No consensus was reached at the workshop, but the input of the chosen consulting firm will aid the board as this rigorous selection process takes shape.