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BoE starting search for superintendent
Dr. Steve Wilmoth has announced his resignation as superintendent. - photo by Courier file photo
The Liberty County Board of Education had a goal-setting retreat Monday and found their goals inextricably tied to the need for finding a new superintendent.
Current Superintendent Dr. Steve Wilmoth is leaving in June and superintendent searches can take up to a year, so the matter is pressing.
The all-day retreat took place in a conference room of The Heritage Bank and was led by Bill Sampson, a professional development specialist with the Georgia School Board Association.
One of the topics covered by Sampson was the GSBA’s superintendent search service school systems use to recruit a new schools chief. For a base fee of $7,000, the association provides a “turnkey” superintendent search.
GSBA helps systems develop qualifications for a superintendent, produce materials, advertise, screen candidates, arrange interviews and provide other search services.
Sampson explained a public involvement element of the search by which school boards can allow citizen input into the process.
Some boards, he said, use a detailed survey that is made available for citizens to complete. The survey asks specific questions to determine what the public wants in a school superintendent and is open-ended, allowing individuals to write in their own comments.
Another citizen-involvement tool offered is the public forum or listening session in which the school board invites the community to meetings where the qualities of a desirable school superintendent are discussed. GSBA staff facilitates and records the sessions, and reports results to the board.
“You need to get people to buy in to your search plan, whatever plan you decide on,” Sampson told the board.
The association tailors each search to individual boards that can decide to seek information through either method, both or neither.
Board members made no decisions on the search Monday, but clearly felt the need to do so soon. More than one member contrasted the GSBA proposal with that of professional executive search firms or “headhunters” that could charge $30,000 and produce questionable results.
Because the minimum time for a successful superintendent search is around three months, the board is facing the possible need for an interim superintendent to head the system temporarily after June.
Board Chairwoman Lily Baker plans to improve the accountability of the new superintendent — as well as administrators and teachers —by increased use of measurable factors reported to the board and the public.
“You’re going to step up to the plate and do your job, or everyone is going to know about it,” she said.
District 1 BoE member Mattie Hicks did not attend the Monday retreat.
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