The Jefferson City School Board has set an ‘aggressive timetable’ for finding a new superintendent, but the four candidates vying to fill two vacant board seats said finding the best candidate, not speed, should be the goal principal of research.
The board is looking for a new superintendent to replace Larry Linthacum, who publicly announced his retirement Jan. 21. Linthacum will complete the remainder of the school year and assume his new role as president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri in July.
At a meeting last week, the board approved a timeline for the search for the superintendent:
• 4-25 Feb. : the position is displayed.
• February 28-March 9: interviews held.
• March 14: expected date of hire.
• 1 July: start of contract
According to this schedule, the new superintendent would be chosen by the current council members before the April 5 election of two new council members.
Board chairman Ken Enloe said the board sees downside to waiting to allow new school board members to choose a superintendent because a break would cause significant delays.
Enloe said the search aims to move quickly to circumvent the contract process, which typically begins in the latter part of the school year. If a superintendent candidate had already signed a contract with another district, having to break a contract could further complicate the process.
Enloe also said the board wants to avoid delays due to the record number of superintendents leaving the profession. He also said other options, such as an acting superintendent, are not off the table and the timeline is not set in stone.
The four nominees for the Jefferson City School District Board of Education — Anne Bloemke-Warren, Adam Gresham, Marc Ellinger and Erika Leonard — shared their thoughts on the current school board-approved research timeline as well as the qualities they had would like to see in the next superintendent. Their answers appear in the order in which they appear on the ballot:
“It seems like a very short turnaround time to find a successful candidate who meets or exceeds all of the expectations the board has set for a new superintendent. I hope they know the market and I hope they have the l intend to be flexible with the posting end date should they not receive enough suitable candidates.
“I expect a new superintendent to be a strong advocate for his educators, staff and students, to be a supporter of public education, to maintain an active role in the community he serves and has a proven track record of producing positive results for the students in his care.”
“The schedule is aggressive. I have no problem with aggressiveness as long as it doesn’t inhibit quality. If this schedule makes it easier to get a good hire, fantastic. However, a good hire is far more important than the proposed schedule , even if that means an acting superintendent until the right person is found.
“Students and teachers have had a tumultuous two years. They deserve a superintendent focused on academic excellence, discipline and teacher support in the classroom. If the timeline is extended, I look forward to applying my past experience to find and hire the right people for the benefit of the neighborhood.”
“The hiring of a new superintendent is essential for the school board. While a timeline is a notable goal, the focus should be on hiring the best person. It is also important to allow new board members to play a role in the decision.
“I encourage current school board members to include school board candidates in the selection process and not focus on hiring someone on time so that the best candidate is selected. superintendent is essential to ensure a high standard of education for students.”
“The timing is appropriate; however, I would like to provide flexibility if the board feels additional time is needed. This is an important decision that will have lasting impacts on our community.
“Successful superintendents demonstrate leadership: accessible, articulate and visible throughout the community and across all 18 schools consistently. They must listen carefully, remain open-minded to know both sides of the issues and be able to make informed choices; commitment – a vision and a plan to ensure student success; and ambition — they must motivate teachers, ensure student success, and bridge the gap between district and community. »