The Green Lake School Board held a special meeting last week Friday, in which it reviewed the qualities it’s looking for in a new superintendent, the search process itself and the timeline for finding a replacement for Mary Allen.
The School Board is looking to name a replacement by its April 21 meeting as it works to follow the Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA 6) process for hiring a superintendent after Allen announced in July that she would be retiring after this school year.
During last week Friday’s meeting, CESA 6 Administrator and CEO Ted Neitzke worked with the School Board to explain the process and gauge board members' opinions on the qualities desired in Allen’s replacement.
“You’re an International Baccalaureate system, so you need somebody who's got the brains to see 4K through 12, manage the outside influences and find opportunities to bring students into the system,” Neitzke said. “You need a visionary type of person ... that's going to be somebody younger in their administrative career, who's got enthusiasm and excitement.”
When Neitzke inquired about administrative duties for the new superintendent, School Board members noted the district’s current administrative duties were set by Allen and they wanted to give her replacement the flexibility to restructure those duties as they see fit.
“Given the candidates and the candidates’ qualifications, potentially they're going to want to restructure the administration based on their qualifications and everyone else's,” School Board Member Loni Meiborg said. “We're flexible in that we don't need to stay exactly the same, and we want that to open up more opportunities for candidates to apply.”
Additionally, Neitzke asked whether there were any internal candidates interested in the position, to which School Board Clerk Meade Grim replied that Elementary Principal Gina Baxter was interested in the position of superintendent.
Neitzke explained that the process of hiring a superintendent will begin with a job posting, then CESA 6 will recruit candidates, pre-screen the candidates, bring finalists to the School Board for interviews with the School Board and a stakeholder group.
Throughout the meeting, Neitzke worked with the School Board to brainstorm the ideal qualities it would like to see from a new superintendent, including desired skills, experiences, personality traits and core values.
Several of the many qualities listed include communication skills, team management, fiscal responsibility, leadership, honesty, community mindedness and flexibility.
The School Board’s extensive list of traits will be narrowed down and used to write the superintendent job posting, which is expected to be released around the middle of this week and will kick off the roughly 10-week process outlined by Neitzke.
He explained that none of the qualities listed are “make or break” as it's unlikely candidates will perfectly match every trait listed.
“You will just have to determine what's the risk, or what's the coaching,” Neitzke said, adding that CESA 6 will help mentor the new superintendent for their first year on the job.
He noted the School Board’s interviews with candidates will be conducted in person because individuals behave differently in person and the position of superintendent “is too big a role” to conduct an entirely virtual process.
Neitzke added that CESA 6 will work with the district to find a large open area in Green Lake School for the socially distanced interview process.
During the stakeholder interviews, Neitzke said the candidates will give an interactive presentation to the group and then CESA 6 will collect feedback from the stakeholders regarding each candidate.
If the School Board elects to go with an internal candidate, however, he noted the entire process shifts.
Neitzke explained that if the School Board picks an internal candidate early on in the search, it would expedite the process by trimming the interview process and moving directly to onboarding, professional development and training.
“As a board, you can determine how you pick your superintendent,” he said, adding that CESA 6 will help the School Board follow state laws as it works to find Allen’s replacement.
The last time Green Lake saw a change at superintendent was when Ken Bates retired in 2016, selecting internal candidate Mary Allen, who was then the high school principal and special education director.