The process of selecting a new superintendent is heating up quickly. Current Superintendent Jim Behle announced plans to retire in June last month, and a new superintendent must be in place in time for his departure.
School board members and other stakeholders will maintain a busy meeting and interviewing schedule between now and May 9, when they will hold a special board meeting to select the new superintendent. Right now, a Superintendent Search Coordinating Committee (SSCC) is conducting surveys and focus groups to determine characteristics and qualifications of the new superintendent, which includes a survey you can access now through Feb. 17 on the St. Michael-Albertville school district homepage. Additionally, there is a community forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the high school’s media center.
Meanwhile, the open position has been posted since the end of January in many publications and web sites, and the posting will remain open until March 23. Each board member will read through every application, and then they will select around 12 candidates during a special March 28 board meeting. Multiple rounds of interviews will take place throughout the month of April, which will be conducted by the school board with representatives from various stakeholder groups in attendance at the semi-finalist stage, such as food service employees, teachers, administration, and even community members and parents. Board chair Doug Birk said a few parents would be chosen at random from a list of those who speak up to say they are interested in participating. These stakeholders would be able to give their feedback to board members, but Birk stressed that the school board retains all decision-making authority. After all interviews have been conducted, two board members will conduct site visits at the finalists’ current places of employment at the beginning of May in advance of the decision-making date on May 9. The board aims to have contract negotiations complete in time for final approval and official hiring on May 16.
Some school districts opt to rely on outside agencies to guide, or even outright handle, the search and selection process for superintendent hiring. However, the St. Michael-Albertville school board members are unanimous in their desire to maintain control internally over the process, as they did when selecting the current superintendent five years ago. Current superintendent, Jim Behle, will also provide an active advisory role in the process, and he is currently serving as a member of the SSCC.
A link to the school district’s superintendent survey can be found HERE.