The Fayette County school board on Saturday reviewed applications from two national firms and the Kentucky School Boards Association to help in the search for the district's next superintendent.
By July 1, board members want to find a permanent replacement for Tom Shelton, who resigned effective Dec. 31. Shelton is now executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. Marlene Helm is acting as interim superintendent.
Board chairman John Price said he expects that the search firm that is chosen would provide a "great pool of candidates" to a superintendent screening committee which will make a recommendation to the school board.
The screening committee includes school board member Daryl Love; district budget director Julane Mullins, representing classified personnel; Fayette County Education Association president Jessica Hiler and associate director of certified personnel Meribeth Gaines, both representing certified employees; principal representative Kate McAnelly of Beaumont Middle School; and parent representative Sharon Mofield-Boswell. The school board does not have to take the screening committee's recommendation.
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The superintendent search firms under consideration are the Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, also known as ECRA Group Inc.; another national company called PROACT Search; and the Kentucky School Boards Association. The Kentucky School Boards Association proposed to conduct the search for about $19,000. Hiring PROACT Search would cost about $25,000, and ECRA Group would cost about $37,500, Price said. Price said board members will be determining what specific services the firms are offering.
Both the PROACT and the ECRA Group websites say they have helped districts across the United States find superintendents.
While the Fayette board reached no decision on a search firm Saturday, members will spend the next several days checking references by talking to districts that have worked with the firms. Price and board member Daryl Love will conduct telephone interviews with the two national firms on Feb. 4.
Board members will discuss the search firms again on Feb. 9, but Price said Saturday he did not know when the board would make a decision or whether members would choose one of the three options discussed Saturday.
In another component of the search, the district has a contract with a Virginia-based public engagement firm called K12 Insight, which will be asking people from all parts of the school district and the public what they want in Fayette County's next superintendent. Forums will likely be held the last two weeks in February.
Meanwhile, the school board has not asked for applications for superintendent yet. That might not happen until March, Price said. Price said the board is not ruling out a Kentucky candidate for superintendent, but wants to conduct a broad search for someone who has the experience to handle the state's second-largest district.