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Niles to begin narrowing superintendent list Monday

Published 1:11am Saturday, January 30, 2010

By KATIE JOHNSON
Niles Daily Star

The search is on for a candidate to replace longtime superintendent Doug Law at Niles Community Schools, and the number of applicants for the position is promising despite the dismal financial outlook at the state level, the search consultant said Friday.

According to Law, who is retiring at the end of June after nearly 40 years with the district, 19 applications were received; one has withdrawn. The application deadline was Jan. 22.

Board of education president Dana Daniels said Friday the board is currently reviewing the applications and resumes, and will narrow the pool of 18 applicants down to four to six candidates during a closed session at their meeting Monday at 7 p.m. The identities and locations of the applicants have not been made public.

“Overall, I was pleased with the choices we were given,” Daniels said.

Consultant Craig Misner of the Michigan Leadership Institute, a firm hired to help conduct the search, said that 18 applicants for this position is a “good number;” 14 to 16 applicants is usually the goal.

Misner explained that the probability of more cuts from the state has deterred some superintendent searches he has seen.

“Right now, there are so many unknowns that it does make it difficult,” Misner said. “But, we had a large pool of candidates.”

After the board meets in closed session Monday night, they will inform the candidates and ask if they are still interested. Interviews – open to the public – will be scheduled for next week, beginning Monday, Feb. 8. After those interviews, the pool will be narrowed to one to three candidates and further interviews and possibly site visits will be conducted, Misner said. Once a decision is made, the board will offer the position to the candidate and they will negotiate a contract.

They are hoping to name a new superintendent by March 1.

Misner explained that ideally, the new superintendent would be transitioned into the district beginning in May alongside Law, who does not retire until the end of June.

Daniels said he is “very, very disappointed” Law will be leaving the district, but that the board is focused on finding candidates and has specific qualities they are searching for.
“They have to be very good financially,” Daniels said. “They need to be well-rounded in curriculum. We are generally looking for someone who has been a superintendent, but that doesn’t preclude anyone who hasn’t. We would like someone who has experience with bond issues.”

Misner said the district has been fortunate to have administrators who have stayed as long as Law, who has served as superintendent approximately nine years.

“The board has had a very good run of superintendents in terms of longevity,” he said. “I think Niles is an excellent opportunity. They have a great reputation. They’re all about kids and learning.”

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