Can we just slow this thing down?

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//” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“Reader” said it best yesterday:

I see the board has not learned from its past mistakes. Rushing to make decisions has cost them dearly before. In fact, we are still paying for rash decisions…

Reader is right. Why are we even considering a timetable for a new superintendent? Do we want to concentrate on quality first, so that we get the best possible person?

Some excerpts from yesterday’s untelevised GCS Board meeting with executive search firm Ray & Associates.

HP Enterprise:

 The board met with representatives of the consulting company, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday to discuss details of the superintendent search. School board members have set a goal of hiring a new superintendent before the start of the new school year. The board plans to stick to a time frame that would set the application deadline for candidates the first week of June, but voted to extend the search process to mid-July to ensure the district gets the most qualified applicants.

Now pay attention here:

“We need to keep this (search) going until we find the right candidate,” said Bill Newman, regional search director for Ray and Associates.

But in the next sentence, he says:

“I feel pretty confident come June we will have quality and quantity.” 

Will we, Mr. Newman? On Ray’s own site, there are multiple listings for superintendent openings nationwide.

I have little confidence we will have the best candidate in this timeframe. As a matter of fact, I would like some names…names of Board members who publicly suggested a June or July timeframe.

Morgan? Katisha? Paul? Help us out here.

N&R excerpts:” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “It will go on until we are satisfied with the candidates,” Nancy Routh, board member, said about the search.

Thank you, Dr. Routh. One voice of reason.


The board also decided Wednesday to schedule five public meetings throughout the county during the weeks of April 14 and April 21.

“The problem I have with boards using focus groups is you leave as many groups out as you invite,” said William Newman, regional search director for Ray and Associates. “I really like this open forum approach.”

The firm has set a preliminary target of receiving candidate applications by June 3 and presenting semifinalists to the board June 17.

The board approved spending more than $6,000 in advertisements.

Newman recommended the board consider a base salary of at least $250,000. A comparison of 13 school districts with student enrollments of 18,000 to 133,000 showed a projected average superintendent salary of $255,803 for the 2008-09 school year.

Grier’s compensation package for the 2007-08 academic year totaled $372,000, with a base salary of $227,000.

The board plans to discuss the desired salary base range for the position at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Many on the Board are readers of this blog. So I’m pleading with you…this is not something that needs to be rushed. Throw any timetable you have out the window NOW! I think you will have a better search if you do just that.

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E.C. )


7 Responses

  1. So what would be the purpose of “5 public meetings throughout the county” in April, if there are no candidates yet? Is this just to make it seem as if the public had a say in the process? I would expect to have public meetings AFTER the application process has closed.

  2. Also, I see that Mr. Newman’s site lists 10 Superintendent vacancies around the country. Each vacancy lists July 1st as the start date. I wonder if Mr. Newman has assured all these other school systems ( his clients) that he can hire someone for them by the start of the next school year. Also, why is Guilford county not listed on his site?

  3. Personally, I don’t like how this is going so far. We’ve gotten off to a very bad start with this search. The meetings are being held untelevised, we’re spending money unnecessarily…if it continues like this, we will end up with another Grier. We can’t afford to be Grier-ended again. Reread yesterday’s post on “rock-star” superintendents.

  4. Anonymous,
    THe purpose of having the public meetings this early is to include feedback in the development of the superintendent profile that gets sent to potential candidates. Waiting until after the application has closed does no good and the public will not be involved in interviewing the candidates.

    Erik, Dot Kearns expressed concerns about going with the June timeline. She said she thought the timeline was too compressed to get adequate public comment. Walter Childs was also concerned about potentially not getting a good cross section of the public. However Nancy Routh said she doesn’t expect the feedback to be that much different from the e-mail comments solicited regarding the superintendent traits on the district’s Web site. Alan Duncan said board meetings typically don’t get a good cross section no matter the subject of the meeting or the amount of notice given. In the end, however, the June date is a target; board members said they will go as long as it takes.

  5. I agree with nancy in that the feedback from citizens is futile. ..Okay, that’s not what Nancy said but I was reading between the lines.

    It doesn’t matter if my “profile” of a great Superintendent suggests that I want one that’s 6 ft, handsome, can carry a tune and could lasso the moon if need be–IT DOESN’T MATTER what the “profile” generated by the public says! We will garner a group of the same potentials regardless of what some useless “profile” states, and THEN that’s when public meetings should take place!

    Yes, Morgan, I realize that little ol’ me will NOT be involved in the hiring process but I would hope that each candidate’s name will be released and THEN a discussion held!–or yes, WE’LL END UP WITH ANOTHER GRIER! Even a monkey can Google names and see if the Super is a potential fire-starter–no pun intended… It seems our BOE didn’t even enter the letters G-R-I-E-R into their Google search a few years ago.

  6. Thank you for the additional background, Morgan. I’m glad Dot and Walt are expressing themselves, however doing so is one thing…expressing yourself by being a little more persuasive is something else. And by this Board simply expressing themselves and at the same time, seeming “comfortable” with a June timeframe doesn’t sit well with me; hence my comments about them moving too fast.

    Dot and Walt have nothing to lose, they’re both out in a matter of months. The damage has been done. But there’s still time to slow this train-wreck down to a much more manageable level so that we get the right candidate instead of someone who we’re obviously not going to be comfortable with for months or years.

  7. If there was not a timeline then everyone would be criticisng that. They cant win. I am the school boards biggest critic but in real life we need to have a target to shoot for. If we dont get who we want then postpone the decision.
    Its just good to plan things.

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