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BoE takes next step in super search
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The Bryan County Board of Education has taken another step in the search for a new school superintendent.

The board met Thursday, April 9 for a called workshop where Georgia School Boards Association representative Bill Sampson talked about superintendent searches and ways GSBA could help.

One of the decisions the board must make, Sampson said, is whether it wants to conduct the search themselves or hire an outside firm to do it. He said the GSBA could conduct the search for $8,000.

By comparison, Sampson said, Muscogee County hired a private search firm for $50,000 and Hinesville spent $30,000 before turning to GSBA for help.

If the board decided to have GSBA do the search, the cost would include announcing the position on a wide range of websites. He said a total of about 1,000 letters would go out, though GSBA does not advertise in the press or conduct the search nationally unless specifically requested by the board.

Applications would also be available on the GSBA website.

Sampson said it was also possible for people to nominate candidates, though the person still must meet state legal requirements.

A nomination also is not a guarantee the person would apply, but the nominee would receive an information package about the position, along with an application, Sampson said.

"Whether we do the search or not, any resource we have is available to you, and we will help in any way we can," Sampson said.

He said requirements mandated by the state school board include the person being eligible for certification and a Master’s degree among others.

According to Sampson, determining specific qualifications the board desires and setting a timeline are two of the most important steps.

He said the BoE should expect the search to take a minimum of three months once it officially begins. Sampson also said now may not be the best time to look for a new superintendent, because most school contracts have already been

signed for the 2009-2010 school year.

He suggested waiting until late fall to begin the search.

"Waiting until fall allows you plenty of time to advertise, develop the application package information and not be rushed in the search," Sampson said.

He also suggested the board hold public forums and take surveys from teachers, administration and the public regarding the characteristics and qualifications desired in the new superintendent.

Board member Charlie Johnson said he felt two or three forums would be a good idea, with at least one each in the north and south ends of the county, and perhaps one to give teachers and administration the opportunity to speak.

"It’s important to have public input," Johnson said.

Board member Joe Pecenka said he would like to see the forums used as a chance to explain how the survey works and how it would be used.

BoE member Mary Warnell said the public needs to be made aware of the basic legal qualifications and what exactly is expected of a superintendent.

"We need to let them know it can’t be just anyone," she said.

Interim Superintendent John Oliver said he saw advantages either way and assured the board he would be there as long as they needed him.

"Good school people are going to be okay, whenever they enter into the system," he said, whether it’s the beginning of the fiscal year, or the middle of the school year.

Chairman Eddie Warren said March 15, 2010 would be a good target date to name the three finalists for the superintendent’s position -- with an eye toward having a superintendent selected by March 31.

He also said he liked what Sampson had to say about GSBA doing the search.

"The price for service is a very good value," he said.

Pecenka said they would probably spend more than $8,000 in staff time if the board conducted the search themselves.

The board plans to announce the timeline to the public when it is determined, and expects to include discussion at an upcoming monthly board meeting on GSBA possibly conducting the search.

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