Within 24 hours, the search for a new superintendent for Richmond Public Schools will officially begin. The job for superintendent will be posted on the Proact Search firm's website, hired by the district to help find the best person for the position. That means floods of candidates from across the country will begin vying for the spot.
However, representatives from firm Proact Search, and board members, stressed that no one will be hired without heavy input from the community, during a work session Monday evening.
By law, the Richmond School Board must hire a new superintendent by December 31st.
"We've got a short window," said Richmond School Board chairman Jeff Bourne.
However, Bourne says he's encouraged by the no-nonsense firm the district hired to help the process along, ASAP.
"It's clear, they've (Proact Search) done this before, and they're very good at it…It raised my level of comfort with this process, even given the tight timelines," continued Bourne.
In upcoming weeks, board members will meet with key members of the community to outline the qualifications Richmond wants in a school leader. Parents will give input during town hall meetings, likely held at local high schools. All of this- before applicants are interviewed.
"Plenty of community input…It's going to be transparent," added board member Dr. Derik Jones.
Representatives from firm Proact Search will narrow down a field of thousands of candidates. About a dozen or so applicants will have Skype interviews with the school board. Finalists will be flown to Richmond for in-person interviews.
However, contenders will not only meet with the ultimate decision makers (the board), but the public, as well. Each finalist will meet the community during another town hall setting.
"I think that's important for us...to see how a potential superintendent interacts with parents, community members…How they're able to think critically...think on their feet," said Bourne.
Another aspect also stressed about the search process-anonymity. Potential candidates shouldn't be revealed publicly until the very end stages, urged firm representatives. Proact Search warns that this could compromise the applicant's job. Therefore Richmond could lose out on some of the best contenders, who may already hold positions elsewhere. Applicants are also forbidden to contact board members directly, to ensure the playing field is even.
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