Madison School District officials got a “robust” response to its survey and public input sessions on the district’s next superintendent.
Consultants from BWP and Associates contracted to help in the nationwide search for the district’s next top administrator presented the results of the public input to the School Board Monday and had a “leadership profile” accepted by the board.
BWP director Kevin Castner said the 1,481 survey responses and more than 200 attendees to various input meetings were impressive and a good sample. He and Debra Hill, who are leading the search together, said the quantitative data from the survey matched the qualitative information gathered at the 35 meetings, including two for the general public and the rest with specific people or groups.
The full report was not made available to the public Monday night, but was expected to be posted Tuesday afternoon.
Board members voted to accept a leadership profile that will be used to help develop interview questions and screen candidates with a 6 to 1 vote, with Nicki Vander Meulen voting against, having requested more time to read the full report before making that choice.
The profile includes qualities like seeking a visionary team-builder who has experience with diverse populations and an understanding of MMSD’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students. Other parts of the profile included a background as an educator, student-centered and personal qualities like confidence, dedication, sincerity, honesty and organization.
Hill said the district needs to make itself stand out to the “small pool” of candidates who fit the profile and have experience in a district at least as large as Madison.
“Lots of districts are looking for the same people,” Hill said. “The competition is much higher at this particular point.”
Castner said the board would have to be unanimous in its final decision to ensure a candidate would accept the job.
“This is where the board has got to come together,” he said. “Candidates will not bring their families on split votes.”
About 18 applications have been submitted to the posting so far, Hill said, with another “half dozen” in the pipeline being recruited or who the consultants have received calls about. The deadline for applicants is Nov. 25, with the first set of interviews with board members expected Dec. 10, 11 and 16. Semifinalists will then be selected Dec. 17, with visits to the district and more interviews in January.
Castner was confident they would deliver a good list of candidates that would help the board make a strong hire.
“The whole idea here, and I have seen this happen, boards will come together if we do our job of getting you a good pool,” he said.