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Rhonda Silence

School District 166 sets criteria for superintendent search

The School District 166 school board met in a special meeting on Wednesday, March 31 to continue its strategic planning. The board picked up the discussion that began on March 25 regarding the school district’s administrative model. At the end of that meeting, board members were given some homework. They were asked to return to the next meeting with their ideas of what the administrative structure at the school should look like.

The March 31 meeting started with a presentation from the Minnesota School Board Association. MSBA representatives shared information on how they could help the school board develop its “leadership profile” and guide the school district through the search process. It was noted that the search and hiring process should take place as soon as possible, as now is the time that potential superintendent candidates are looking for placement. It was also noted that if the school board doesn’t feel any potential candidates are the right fit, the district can continue as it is, with Principal Megan Myers as interim superintendent.

Board members shared what they thought would be the best model for ISD 166 and there was consensus that having a superintendent that was also serving another district, as was the case with Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall, is not the ideal situation. It was agreed that the school district should have a “stand alone” superintendent.

However, there was not complete agreement on whether the superintendent should be full-time. School Board Chair Dan Shirley said that having a part-time superintendent had meant some things hadn’t had the attention they could. He said the Community Education program was one example.

Board Member Stephanie Radloff disagreed and suggested giving the current administrative model, with Principal Myers serving as superintendent with support from Assistant Principal Mitch Dorr. She said there seems to be an advantage of having Myers in the role. Radloff said because she lives in the community and is familiar with the workings of the district, it may work having her as a part-time superintendent. Radloff said she would like to give the current model “a shot.”

Board Members Carrie Jansen and Rena Rogers both said that even if Myers would like to take on the superintendent role, a search should be completed. Jansen said looking at other candidates and ultimately selecting an in-house candidate would affirm that the right decision was made. Shirley agreed and noted that both Principal Myers and Assistant Principal Dorr have superintendent credentials and could apply for the position.

There was more discussion about possible administrative models and whether or not to use MSBA to help with the search and hiring process. Board Member Radloff again suggested that the school board pause before proceeding, expressing concern at paying $7,800 for something that could be done by the school board. Board Member Rogers said she feels that the $7,800 was very reasonable, stating that the county recently paid over $20,000 for its search for the county administrator. Jansen said she appreciated the expertise and access to a network of administrators that MSBA offers.

A motion passed to work with MSBA, with Radloff casting a nay vote.

The school board then had to let MSBA know if they wanted to seek a full-time or part-time superintendent. Acting Superintendent Myers weighed in, saying that the job really needed to be more than part-time, but could possibly be less than full-time. The board asked MSBA to put together an employment announcement for a 7.5 – 8.0 position, leaving the decision of full-time or a little less to later.

The school board was again given homework. MSBA asked the board members to come up with “points of pride” about ISD 166 and the community to be incorporated in the employment announcement.

MSBA will put together an employment announcement and other information and bring it back to the board at another special meeting via Zoom at 5 p.m. on April 6. The meeting can be followed via Zoom. Click here to participate.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with School Board Chair Dan Shirley to get his thoughts on the superintendent search and actions at the last meeting.