Super replacement draws a crowd
April 11, 2014
FINN ROCK: Close to fifty people were shoulder to shoulder when the McKenzie School Board held another special meeting last Thursday. Once again discussions concerning the superintendent were the attraction.
The session was called so the board could hear a presentation from a consultant offering to conduct a search for a new top administrator. During the public comment section that began the April 3rd meeting, speakers had other things on their mind.
Alyssa Brownlee of McKenzie Bridge hoped the district would convene a panel to look at various options to overcome what she perceived as a feeling of “a great deal of mistrust.” She recommended that group include parents as well school reps.
Sylvia Dion asked again that the board look at their strategic plan because it contained recommendations regarding the superintendent position including making it a half time post.
“I’ve been here for 27 years and have been through a lot of administrators and a lot of configurations,” said nurse Kim Burwell. She recommended hiring a half time superintendent and upgrading Lane Tompkins into a full time principal.
Echoing her suggestion was athletic director Neil Barrett who also cautioned the board about pursuing a nationwide search for a new administrator. “Consider the cost and a possible waste of money he said, adding that, “We have at least one very well qualified candidate.”
First grade teacher Mary Lipp said she’s been struggling with the current administrative configuration (superintendent/principal), “Because there is no one to go talk to.” Lipp felt there needed to be a clearly defined “top tier” position, rather tan someone who is, “Also in the trenches every day with you.” A half time principal, she felt, meant the person holding that position are just dealing with “the problems” and not being able to come in and, “Give pats on the back that we all need.”
Business instructor Corey Culp too lent support for a full time principal, saying that with both new science and math teachers coming on board, the staff could use help with transitions.
George Letchworth encouraged the board to, “Involve and engage the community in our school in a very positive way” by opening up to the community.
“We can work together to make positive changes,” was the way Connie Huff explained her feelings. She asked the board not to rush in hiring an agency or filling the post immediately.
Michael Lasher, from Northwest Leadership Associates, said that although it was late in the year, he felt confident a new superintendent could be found. Asked about the length of employment, Lasher cautioned against offering a one year post. “If you find someone you like, they’re going to be more committed if you’re more committed,” he said.
Board member Elizabeth Carr said the spreadsheet she’d done showed there was money to pay for both an interim superintendent and a full time principal. She had reservations about both the cost of the search process and the short time frame to find someone.
No decision was voted on last Thursday. Instead, the issue was tabled until the board’s next regular meeting on April 16th.
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