Superintendent search includes public survey

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2021

What qualities would you like to see in the next superintendent of Clark County Public Schools?

Is it highly important to you that the school district’s leader be someone who “takes a sensitive approach to meeting the challenges of an ethnically and culturally diverse community”?

Do you want someone who is “a highly visible and personal presence in the schools”?

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Or is it a higher priority for you that she or he “fosters a culture of accountability and high performance for self, students and staff performance”?

These are some of the questions in a community survey that began Wednesday as part of the Clark County Board of Education’s superintendent selection process.

The survey will end June 7.

The link will be posted on school and district websites.

Kathy Fields of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, who will be the school board’s facilitator for the search, presented a timeline for the process at the school board’s meeting Monday, and one of the first steps is to get feedback from the public about what qualities and qualifications they consider important. The results of the survey will be ranked and provided to the board.

The process should end with the announcement of a new superintendent by the board by the middle of August.

The new leader will succeed current Superintendent Paul Christy. By a 3-2 decision, the board voted this spring not to renew his contract.

During another meeting a week ago, the board chose KASA as its facilitator and appointed a screening committee to help the board with the search.

Fields plans to hold an orientation meeting with the screening committee on June 14, according to the tentative schedule approved by the board Monday.

“That’s when I would tell them that they are not choosing the superintendent. They are your legs and your arms and your eyes and your ears. They are going to do the legwork for you,” she said, and they will recommend to the board whatever number of candidates the board decides. But the board alone decides. It is one of the most important decisions a school board is charged with making.

During the meeting Monday, the board also approved the job description that was to be posted the next day and approved the contract with KASA, for $5,750.

Fields’ timeline suggests that on June 14, the same day as the screening committee’s orientation, there be a special called board meeting to review the survey results and determine how many candidates will be interviewed.

The application process would close June 25, and the screening committee would meet July 6 and July 12, first to review the applications and then to recommend applicants.

The board would also meet July 12 to review the recommendations, add or remove applicants, come up with an interview strategy and questions for the candidates, and set dates for the interviews.

July 13-16, finalists would complete a Gallup Strength Finder test, and the board would review those results on July 19.

Between July 19 and 30, there would be interviews, a Finalist Showcase (an optional presentation of the top candidates) and contract negotiations, and then sometime between Aug. 2 and 13, the board would announce the new superintendent.

Christy’s term, however, ends in June with the school year.

“We’re going to have a gap,” Board Member Bill Taulbee noted.

He asked about whether there should be an interim superintendent.

“It’s typical, I’ll tell you that,” Fields said, although she added that because summer is normally a slower time for the district, other top administrators, such as the district’s finance officer, could handle the superintendent’s duties without naming an interim.

Fields said she has done several superintendent searches for KASA.

“This is my second one this year,” she said.

Fields seemed confident about getting a good choice of candidates.

“Honestly, Clark County is very attractive. It’s an attractive part of Kentucky. And quite frankly, you have a wonderful reputation for instructional support, you have a great reputation for high-quality schools and staff,” she said.