Other than BOE members and staff, there were six people in the audience—poor attendance, but not surprising since you couldn’t even find a notice of this meeting on the DCSS website.
Two firms were presenting their proposals for the Superintendent search. They did it in alpha order so Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) went before Ray & Associates. Each firm is allotted 90 minutes. Timed portion included opening statement; presentation; question and answer period with pre-submitted questions from moderator Lydia Taylor; Q&A from board members; and finally a closing statement.
They started late, so I could only stay through the first presentation. Perhaps someone can link to the audio for the second presentation.
Here is a summary of the GSBA presentation
Lydia Taylor went over the competitive sourcing method for the RFP
- Posted two ads in the Champion News (legal organ of DeKalb Co.) on 8/19 and 8/26
- Posted RFP on DCSS website from 8/19 to 9/15
- Posted it to the Georgia Procurement Registry which sends it to the 142 district vendors registered in the state of Georgia
- Sent it to 14 vendors from the DCSS vendor registry
- Sent it to 3 Superintendent trade associations (AASA, GSBA, and one more I couldn’t get)
- Notifications were sent to national firms who have had successful placements at the most populated school districts, including McPherson & Jabosen (Nebraska); Heidrick & Struggles (Atlanta) and 2 others I didn’t get
- Notification sent to Georgia Department of Education
Notes from Georgia School Board Association presentation:
- Cost of search $15,000
- Bill Sampson spoke on behalf of GSBA, but Don Rooks would actually be managing the search. He couldn’t be there, but he lives in Metro Atlanta and has led more than 100 successful searches.
- The GSBA is not a headhunter. They have no stable of candidates. They have a database of people who have requested to be on their mailing list, and they include these individuals in the search notification. They are currently involved in 3 searches.
- They have a vetted, transparent search process. They cast a wide net and accept ALL applications as well as nominations.
- w Average number of candidates for a GSBA led search: 30-40. We would be their biggest system.
- Average number of interviews in first round: 5-8, but will extend first round if those individuals are not a good fit.
- The process:
- GSBA does an online survey for the community to give input on what they would like to see in a superintendent.
- GSBA holds public forums to explain the process and solicit feedback from the community on what they feel should be in the vacancy announcement
- The BOE establishes the hiring criteria and works with the search leader to develop the vacancy announcement
- Once the announcement is approved by the board it is posted/sent to the following places:
- GSBA website
- National School Boards Association website
- Mailed to 550 educators and 180 superintendents of GA Schools
- 850 individuals on GSBA mailing list
- Ads placed in the following:
- NY Times/Monster.com
- Education Week online postings
- AASA Leaders Edge Enews
- National Alliance of Black School Educators
- They also invite nominations; however it is merely an invitation to apply. This means that if a current board member nominates someone, the search leader will send them an invitation to apply with a copy of the requirements. The individual would still have to submit the full application and go through the entire process like everyone else.
- GSBA accepts ALL applications. An external committee reviews all applications (committee typically consists of retired educators). Committee divides applicants into three groups—1) contains all qualifications 2) contains some or most of the qualifications 3) contains the fewest qualifications outlined in the vacancy announcement.
- Each board member receives copies of all group 1 applications, and the board as a whole receives a single copy of group 2 and 3 applications. BOE chooses who to interview from group 1. They can also choose to interview candidates in groups 2 and 3. Search Leader goes over interview dos and don’ts but the BOE conducts the interview. Search Leader is on site but does not interview. GSBA reviews references of all group 1 candidates.
- Board publically announces up to 3 finalists. There is a state-mandated 14-day waiting period before they can vote.
- GSBA checks references and does a credit check of shortlist. Federal law states credit check can only go back 7 years. When questioned about D&B check, Bill stated that they don’t typically do it, but they can.
Womack—stated he wasn’t interested in hiring a current Georgia Superintendent. Asked what the process is if a board member wants to nominate someone such as the former Washington DC Superintendent or other such “person of interest.” GSBA reiterated that they don’t actively recruit people. If there are people of interest identified by the board, they can invite them to apply, but they will still have to go through the whole process. Womack also asked how many in their mailing list are from outside the state. GSBA said it was about 50/50, but most are from the southeast. When questioned about soliciting other neighboring superintendents, he said he has to be careful about “poaching” so they work around it by finding a way to “invite” current sitting superintendents to apply.
Roberts—She stated for the record that she is a board member of GSBA. Asked what their largest school district searches were. GSBA said Richmond and Clayton Counties are the biggest they’ve done (30-40,000 students)
Redovian—asked how they go about attracting non-traditional candidates (business leader, or other non-educator who has proven success leading a large company). GSBA said the board would have to certify that this individual was qualified.
Cunningham—Asked if the issues facing DCSS would discourage qualified people from applying. GSBA said that DCSS is a good system and that these are the same problems facing the rest of the country. He also said that there are quite a few systems in Georgia that are on probation—we just don’t hear about them because they aren’t in the AJC coverage area. Even so, it hasn’t kept them from getting qualified candidates.
McChesney—if a 30,000 student system is their biggest search, will that be a problem? GSBA says no. They have 32 employees who all take part in the search. He also asked about background checks on the final candidates. GSBA said they could do a more thorough search (D&B, etc.) but the BOE would have to work that out with them. They typically do not do more than references and credit and possibly Google/Yahoo search