Fast track to a new schools superintendent
MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant’s search for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Dr. John Roederer is on the fast track.
That’s what Gary Ray of Ray & Associates, the search firm hired by school directors, told the board Thursday night.
Ray’s tentative timeline has a contract being offered around April 1.
“We are putting the search on the fast track,” Ray told the board. “We want to have the interviews done by the end of March. We’re going to move rapidly and we have to do that because of similar searches by other school districts.”
The timeline has the first round of interviews (semi-finalist candidates) on March 25-26 and the second and final round (finalists) on March 28-29.
But before that, the search firm will host a public forum (tentatively set for Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.) and meet with stakeholders (community leaders, businessmen and women, school administrators, staff and support staff) to gain a handle on what they are seeking in a superintendent.
“I think you should reach out to as many people as possible,” Ray told the board. “I also think it is important to have an open meeting (public forum) where anyone can come…I think you should invite as many groups and people as possible to the public forum. It’s good to give certain groups personal attention and ask them to come.”
Ray said the school board could attend the public forum, but he would discourage them from doing so. “We are not going to get into district issues or problems…IF somebody (on the school board) feels strongly, he or she can attend but there is more free discussion if the board is not there. It is going to be their show to talk to us.”
Director Ken Feldmann agreed. “I believe the public should be involved in the process.”
The purpose of the meetings, Ray said, is not only to build a profile on what the district is seeking but to learn more about the district. “We are on a fact-finding mission.”
Ray said he would anticipate anywhere between four to six semi-finalists before the field is trimmed to two finalists. “You may be able to go with three finalists if you have a particularly strong field,” he added.
There will also be a survey link on the school district’s website and the Ray & Associates Web site for people, who cannot attend the forum or who aren’t in any of the stakeholder groups, to register comments. That link should be on the websites now and the deadline for comments is Feb. 8.
Deadline for applications is March 11.
Roederer, who has been superintendent of the district for 20 years, announced his retirement at the Jan. 14 board meeting. Ray & Associates was hired Jan. 28 to head the search from a field of three bidders. Ray & Associates will be paid $6,000 for its work.
Following is the search’s tentative timeline.
Feb. 1 — Notify all associates and other professional contacts of vacancy;
Feb. 1 — Contact constituents and stakeholders for input meetings on Feb. 7;
Feb. 1 — Online survey link, for input on developing the profile, available on district website until Feb. 8;
Feb. 7 — Meeting with constituent and stakeholder group representatives;
Feb. 8 — 8 a.m. deadline for survey/input from constituents, stakeholders and board members, including online survey;
Feb. 13 — Promotional flyer draft due;
Feb. 13 — Board to finalize superintendent profile for the promotional flayer and online application form;
Feb. 14 — Print promotional flyer; forward to consultant;
Feb. 18 — E-mail promotional flyer and online application instructions to interested candidates;
Feb. 21-23 — Recruitment at AASA Conference in Los Angeles, Calif. (Ray & Associates only);
March 11 — Deadline for all application materials;
March 21 — Consultant develops and finalizes interview questions and procedures with the board. Semi-finalists are presented to the board and consultant assists the board in selecting finalists for the interviews. If desired, consultant will meet with constituents and staff interview group(s) to discuss their roles;
March 25-26 — Interview semi-finalist candidates;
March 26 — Meeting with consultant following the last interview;
March 28-29 — Interview finalist candidates;
March 29 — Final meeting with consultant following the last interview;
TBD — Optional on-site visit of leading candidate(s);
TBD — Consultant will discuss contract terms with the finalist;
TBD — Offer the contract;
TBD — Press release of new superintendent;
TBD — Board self-assessment survey results presented to the board.