Superintendent search underway in South-Western City Schools

By Dedra Cordle

Staff Writer

 

The South-Western City School Board of Education has hired a consulting agency to guide the search for a new superintendent.

At a special meeting held on March 25, the board selected K-12 Business Consulting Inc., to find candidates that could lead the sixth largest school district in the state.

The board determined the cost of the search should not exceed $75,000.

District officials say one of the reasons why the New Albany-based consulting agency was chosen out of the five companies interviewed was because of their “extensive and detailed” search process. Another component that played into the selection was the “high level” of community involvement in the process.

Lead consultant Debbie Campbell said the inclusion of the community is what drives their agency’s  search for a superintendent and makes it so successful.

“This is a process that really values your community, values your stakeholders, and it is very transparent,” she said. “It allows everyone to feel valued and heard.”

Campbell and associate Frank Forsthoefel were in attendance at another special meeting held on April 1. They presented the community with a snapshot of the six-step process for finding a superintendent and also offered a timeline to announce a new leader for the district.

The first step involves a thorough engagement process with school and community stakeholders, said Campbell.

From April 15 – 18, the K-12 Business Consulting associates will hold a variety of focus group meetings, some during school hours, some after. The focus groups include, but are not limited to, administrators, the board of education, bus drivers, educators, elected officials, office staff, parents, and high school students.

They will be asked to give their opinions on the strengths of the district, the challenges the district faces, and the desirable characteristics of a school superintendent.

Those who are unable to attend any public meetings held during this process can take an online survey or questionnaire on the district’s website. They will be presented with the same questions as those who participate in the focus groups.

After the meetings are held, the consulting firm will analyze the data and create a superintendent search profile based on those answers from the school and community stakeholders. That profile will then be presented to the board of education at its regular meeting on April 22. The consulting agency will then begin to actively recruit and vet potential candidates.

The next step in the process is for the board members to meet select candidates and hold interviews. The candidates who are being strongly considered for the position will spend all day at the district where they will talk to staff, students, elected officials and the community.

Campbell said there would be “meet and greets” with the candidates for the community. There are likely to be several opportunities for the public to participate in the open forums. Evan Debo, the district’s executive director of communications, said these public meetings (as well as some of the focus group events that are made public in April) will be held in Grove City and Prairie Township.

After those steps have been taken, Campbell said the board will select the candidate they feel would be “the best fit” for the district. The board and the consulting agency would like to see a new superintendent named on June 8.

The district says there will be up-to-date information on the superintendent search – including the dates, times, and locations of public events and meetings – available on their website, www.swcsd.us.

 

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