The search for a new superintendent will intensify over the coming months as the Chadron School Board looks to replace Dr. Caroline Winchester, who will retire in 2020.
The board finalized its timeline last week during a workshop, with plans for a second workshop and stakeholder engagement meetings Oct. 28. Applications for the position will close Nov. 25, with interviews slated for Dec. 10-11.
“If we feel like we have to push things back, then we will. Things are fluid,” said Shari Becker, the district’s Nebraska Association School Boards consultant heading up the search. The district wants to interview four candidates and came to unanimous agreement that in addition to the interviews the members want to share a meal with each candidate and their spouses, if applicable.
Board member Sandy Roes, the only member who was serving on the board when Dr. Winchester was hired, made the suggestion of entertaining the candidates and their spouses for a meal, calling it “eye-opening.”
“It’s a great way to get insight,” Becker agreed.
The Oct. 28 stakeholder engagement meetings will encompass multiple groups from across the community’s spectrum, including various groups of school staff, high school students, business leaders and community and parent groups.
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School board members will not attend the stakeholder meetings, which will be conducted by NASB staff.
“We want them to be able to speak freely,” Becker said.
The board has already completed surveys that Becker used to develop a leadership profile, from which an assessment tool will be developed to help the board judge candidates. Members will focus next on selecting interview questions, narrowing the suggested list down to 16 that relate to the leadership profile. Applicants will also complete an essay question and do a formal three to five minutes presentation during the interview process addressing a specific topic.
The profile outlines what the district is searching for and includes the capabilities of improving curriculum, growing academic offerings, motivating and retaining staff, management of budgets and facilities improvement plans and more.
As the district continues its search, NASB also will help the board review its superintendent contract and compare it to those in other districts. One tool that will aid in that review is a statewide salary study NASB is currently concluding. All of the data in that study, including salary, benefits, vacation days and years of experience will be available to board members for consideration as they begin negotiations.