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Superintendent Search Begins

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Glenwood Schools Searching For Dr. Sibley's Replacement

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

Integrity.

Ethics.

A motivator.

A visionary.

These are just a few of the attributes the Glenwood Board of Education is looking for in its new district superintendent as they begin the search process to replace Dr. Stan Sibley, who announced in December he would be stepping down when his contract is completed June 30, 2010.

Sibley has served as Glenwood’s superintendent since 2001.

To assist the district in their search they have retained McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, an Omaha-based consulting firm that specializes in executive searches for public entities. The district has contracted to pay McPherson & Jacobsen $6,500 for the length of the superintendent search. The district would be responsible for expenses related to advertising the position, telephone charges for reference screening and consultant travel to the district.

The contract was formally signed by board president Theresa Romens and approved at Monday’s board meeting. The deal includes a provision that if the board were to hire a superintendent and that individual were to leave the position within two years, for any reason, McPherson & Jacobsen would repeat the search process at no charge.

In a special meeting Friday, the board met with Dr. Thomas Jacobson, chief executive officer and co-founder of McPherson & Jacobson, to discuss the board’s plan for replacing Sibley. Among the topics of discussion was what the board is looking for in the skills, qualities and characteristics of a new superintendent, the ground work for identifying candidates, a calendar of the search process and how and when the position should be advertised. Also discussed was a list of five criteria most important for the board in any superintendent candidate.

Later this month Jacobson will host a series of meetings with district administrators, classified staff, students, teachers and a yet-to-be-determine pool of community groups. The intent of the meetings is to gather input and insight from the groups. The groups will have the opportunity to take up issues they have with the district and what they’d like to see in a new superintendent.

“We’re here to hear,” is how Jacobson described the sessions. “We want to hear from your cheerleaders and your critics.”

Jacobson will then take that data, summarize it and review it with the board to set a series of criteria for a potential new superintendent. Board members will not be barred from attending the sessions, but Jacobson did say the absence of board members did tend to solicit more open discussion.

Jacobson will also coordinate the advertising for the superintendent position. The Glenwood position is currently the only Iowa position listed on the McPherson & Jacobson website. The superintendent position for the Atlantic Community Schools had previously been listed but that position has since been filled.

Other options for advertising the Glenwood position are also being considered for Education Week, a national school superintendent publication, and on the American Association of School Administrators’ website. Jacobson said ads in Education Week can cost $1,200 to $3,000.

“We want to get the message out as loudly and quickly as possible,” said Jacobson.

During Friday’s meeting Jacobson said he had already received four inquiries into the Glenwood position.

The board hopes to have its list of all applicants vetted to a short list of candidates within two weeks of the March 15 deadline for applications. A March 29 date has been set for Jacobson to meet with the school board to review those finalists and identify a final “three or four” contenders. The board plans to meet April 7, 8, 9 and 13 for potential “final interviews.”

The board expects to have its new superintendent selected by April 15.