Board votes to hire professional supt. search team
The Tecumseh School Board dealt with a number of issues concerning preparation for the coming school year during its meeting Monday, Aug. 27, among them was the continuing discussion of how to conduct the search for the new superintendent of schools. A motion to enlist a professional team to conduct the search had been discussed at previous meetings and the board had reached an informal consensus that the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) offered a reasonably priced search service to its members. The trustees voted unanimously to employ MASB in the search.
Board President Ed Tritt reminded the other trustees that the superintendent search was still the most important item on this agenda and for the agendas for many meetings to come. “This is one of the most important things that we will do as a board,” he said. “The question is, are we going to do it piecemeal? How many of us have the time to interview every candidate, to make the phone calls, to set up the meetings?”
Tritt said that he agreed with the advice that had been offered by consultant Dr. William Rice, who addressed the board on the advisability of seeking professional help in the search. “We need somebody other than the board and the administration involved,” Tritt said. “I don’t think that $7,300 is a lot of money for the service provided.” Tritt was referring to the fee charged by the MASB for a basic superintendent search.
Price and experience were not the only factors that the board was taking into account in its decision to hire an outside source for the search. The board also agreed on the importance of having a third-party involved to maintain a sense of impartiality in the selection process.
As Tecumseh Public Schools is a member of the MASB and, as such, receives a member rate for the service, board members felt that the state organization was the most reasonable choice for an ally in the search.
“I’m more comfortable with the MASB than with a private company,” trustee Jim Rice said during the discussion before the vote. “They would be looking out for us and not just trying to fill the position. We will still be able to look over the whole pool ourselves, but they will be doing the legwork.” Rice also observed that the pool of candidates might not be as large as in previous searches.
The impartiality factor for MASB is enhanced by the fact that the organization is a not-for-profit agent that will also provide legal and policy services as part of the package. The wording of part of the search agreement spells out the organization’s policy in approaching the task: “An MASB superintendent search is not about placement; it’s about a process where the board hires its next superintendent.”
“There are districts that do not find the perfect fit the first time through the process,” said Tritt, “and we have to be prepared for that possibility. It may include hiring an interim superintendent.”
The board also unanimously approved a one-year nursing contract with Criticore Nursing Agency, of Canton, and approved an athletic trainer contract with ProMedica.
Director of Technology and Curriculum Todd Thieken had presented several reports to the board on the necessity of maintaining the technological infrastructure of the school system. The technology is at least 11 years old and Thieken pointed out in his report that, “the demands placed on it for delivery of educational content and support services has more than quadrupled from 1999 when this infrastructure was planned and procured.”
The board agreed to the gradual replacement of the infrastructure unanimously. Supt. Mike McAran told the board that the capital improvements were a budgeted item and already set aside. Improvements for phase one will be accomplished over the next three years.