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Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle BOE to meet with search firms Monday

Hartselle Board of Education members have decided to meet with firms to conduct a search for its new school superintendent at its meeting on Monday night at Barkley Bridge Elementary School.

Board Chairman Dr. James Joy said the board will likely seek proposals from the Alabama Association of School Boards and BWP and Associates and then choose one of those two firms to conduct the search.

Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenreid with BWP and Associates addressed the board about a potential search timeline. Her recommendation was to have a new superintendent in place by July 15.

Her reasoning is based partly in the laws regarding interim superintendents and when superintendent candidates might be available for interviews.

“Interim superintendents, if you choose to appoint one, can only serve for 180 days,” Sims-deGraffenreid said. Reed is leaving the school system on June 30.

Joy expressed reservations about doing a search so quickly, since the school system is hiring a new chief school financial officer, finishing construction on the new high school, moving the junior high to the Sparkman Street campus and creating a new intermediate school.

“My thought was to have the new school superintendent start Oct. 1,” Joy said.

Sims-deGraffenreid disagreed, saying that the fall is a difficult time for school superintendents to be moving.

“They really batten down the hatches during the months of August, September and October, as they are beginning the school year,” deGraffenreid said.

Board member Jennifer Sittason suggested that the new principal could begin on Jan. 1, 2014, but Sims-DeGraffenreid that could create problems as well.

“If you choose to wait until the January of 2014, you could have the appearance of treading water,” Sims-deGraffenreid said. “Plus, you would be going past the 180 days when an interim superintendent could serve.”

During the process, Sims-deGraffenreid said that the board could seek community input from either focus groups, by an online survey or another avenue. The board could then use that input to help craft the superintendent position announcement.

Once the position is announced, Sims-deGraffenreid said the position must be advertised for 30 days by state law. She then recommended that the board take applications for at least six weeks following the announcement to allow candidates the time to submit their résumé packets to the board.

The search firm would then review the candidates and bring about five candidates, who would then be interviewed by the board in early June. After the interviews were complete, Sims-deGraffenreid’s timeline would have the board selecting a finalist with which negotiate a contract in mid to late June.

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