Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Superintendent search underway at district

January 26, 2006

Beginning Monday with the first candidate, the Baldwin Board of Education has begun its interview process with the final applicants for the new superintendent to replace James White, who is retiring.

The school board brought in a candidate Monday and Tuesday, but had its candidate for Wednesday cancel after accepting a job elsewhere. Today, the final applicant will be touring the district and being interviewed by the school board.

"I think they are going extremely well," School Board Member Ruth Barkley said of the tours and interactions. "We have managed to get them in every building throughout the district. I think by 9:30 at night, they are extremely tired."

Each candidate met with district personnel for an hour, as staff members from the buildings came to the district office. The receptions to meet the candidates were casual, but were important to Barkley.

"We are getting great exposure to the candidates and they are getting exposure to us," Barkley said of the receptions. "I think these afternoon sessions are extremely valuable for our personnel, so they can interact with the candidates as well."

The candidates were only notified late last week of being a finalist for the job. School Board President Lonnie Broers said the school board was still able to get them here for interviews this week.

"They had already filled out an application, so they were anticipating us calling them," Broers said. "They were looking forward to coming, so they took that as we were interested and they were glad to come."

The school board met last Thursday with members of the Kansas Association of School Boards to narrow the applicants down to four finalists. A total of 35 people applied, and the board selected four to interview.

"I think it was very productive," Broers said of the meeting. "We were able to narrow the field down from 35 to four of our best candidates."

At least 15 of the 35 applicants are currently superintendents and 11 of them had earned a doctorate. Six of them were from out-of-state.

After the candidates were chosen, the school board then discussed which questions it would like to ask its finalists in the interview.

"It was very long and I think productive," School Board Member Ande Parks said. "We had a chance to look over all of the applications that KASB recommended to us. We put together the interview questions, which I think took a long time, but I think we got what we wanted."

Parks said narrowing applicants was hard, but the school board stayed with the choices of KASB.

"It was tough, but we trust KASB and the people who did the search for us," Parks said. "We were pretty comfortable with the recommendations, so it was pretty easy."

This year, the school board decided in November to let KASB help them with the superintendent search. KASB chose which applicants would be best for the district.

Broers said the process this year has worked well and the applicants were very qualified.

"I think it is working really well," Broers said.

Parks also believes using KASB was a good choice this year.

"I am very happy with them," Parks said. "I have not done this before as a board member, but I am pleased with their search."

Broers was a board member in 1999, when former Supt. John Nuspl resigned. The process then was different, because the board didn't use KASB and did a private search instead.

Broers said he isn't sure if the KASB choice has worked better than their method in 1999, because that is to be determined.

"I think it has worked as well, but I don't know if it is better," Broers said. "That is yet to be seen."

This search is being conducted since Supt. White announced his retirement in November. White is currently in his seventh year as superintendent of the district. School board members have said the early announcement has made the search easier.

After the final interview today, the school board members will travel to the district of the final candidate to verify that person is right for the job.

The school board plans to appoint a new superintendent in early February.

The third candidate will be profiled in next week's Signal.

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