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Madison School Board

On Monday, the board will meet to discuss the hiring process for Jennifer Cheatham's successor, including whether to hire an outside consulting firm.

The Madison School Board is considering an outside consulting firm in its search process for a new superintendent.

During a special meeting Monday, board members are set to discuss the hiring process to replace Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, including a request for proposals, or RFP, to find a consulting firm and “ensure that the district has access to the best leadership talent from local, regional and national markets, and in particular that the district is able to attract diverse leaders.”

The draft RFP calls for the district to have its request sent out by July 15 with the board selecting a consultant in early September.

Also on Monday’s agenda is a timeline for hiring a superintendent, including when the search would start, when the board and consultant would review candidates, and when a final decision could be made.

Under the timeline, the board would prioritize public input and finalizing an application process throughout September, with the application period starting Sept. 23 and closing by Oct. 31.

Rubric scoring, background and reference checks, and interviews with candidates would happen in November and December, and finalists would be invited to a community forum in January, according to the timeline.

The timeline calls for a selection to be made and a contract negotiated in February.

In 2012, the School Board hired consultant Ray and Associates, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for $31,000 to assist in the search process to replace former Superintendent Dan Nerad.

But questions around a finalist’s background left some board members at the time saying they were not fully aware of controversial issues. That finalist withdrew shortly before a scheduled visit to the district, clearing the way for Cheatham’s hiring.

To fill the superintendent role on an interim basis, the School Board last month chose Jane Belmore, a former Madison assistant superintendent, who will start Aug. 1.

Cheatham will leave for a teaching position at Harvard University at the end of August.

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