The Nebraska Association of School Boards won the confidence of the Chadron School Board Monday to lead its search for its next superintendent.
The board voted unanimously to hire the NASB after a brief discussion about the merits of it and Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association. Both organizations, along with private search firm McPherson and Jacobson, presented proposals to the district in January. The NASB and NRCSA were the favorites ahead of the vote.
The NASB led the district’s last superintendent search, which resulted in the hiring of Dr. Caroline Winchester, who will retire in 2020. That experience played a significant role in earning the endorsement of Sandy Roes, who is the only board member who was involved in that search.
The NASB conducts an online application process that goes beyond a cover letter and resume; it includes transcripts, references, character forms and several questions candidates must answer based on the district’s needs. NASB consultants will meet with the board three times, including once to develop a needs assessment and create a leadership profile. Interview questions will be developed to align with that leadership profile, and a unique interview process will be determined. That can include having candidates do a presentation on a specific topic.
The district will have access to all the information on each candidate, though NASB will make recommendations on who it believes the best ones are. The organization also provides board members with an assessment tool to judge candidates by, eventually creating a score for each candidate from every board member.
The NASB’s bid is $6,000, which includes advertising costs. Travel expenses are above and beyond the base bid.
The organization will also work with the school district after it makes its choice and be involved in the negotiations.
“I did like that part in the last process,” Roes said.
New board member Tye Pourier also expressed support for the NASB after spending time with agency personnel during a recent conference.
“They’re on our side. There’s a comfort level I have with them,” he said.
Board members Maddie Nitsch, Boone Huffman and Tom Menke noted that both NASB and NRCSA offered strong proposals and either would likely represent the district well in its search. Gary Hoffman agreed, but pointed out that NASB has more experience conducting superintendent searches.
“That’s hard for me to pass up,” he said.
In other business Monday, the board approved adding a full-time teaching position at the intermediate school next year. This year’s third and first grade classes are large, explained Dr. Winchester, and to maintain an adequate student to teacher ratio, another teacher is required.
“This will be something we’ll need for a number of years if we look at the class sizes,” she said.
The new position will make four sections of fourth grade possible in 2019-20, and four sections of third grade the following year.
“This is something I’ve been after since the get-go,” Huffman said.
The board also tabled a decision on spending $8,000 to refinish the stage floor in the auditorium in black epoxy, as it researches other options that may also provide a safer surface for performers.