Archived Story

Buchanan school board identifying superintendent candidate criteria

Published 8:58am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star

The Buchanan School Board will need to hurry to get a new superintendent in place before the start of next school year, after the surprising announcement last month that current superintendent Diana Davis will retire at the end of the year.

Davis, who has served as superintendent for four years and has been in education for 34, will retire July 1.

The board got the ball rolling on the search for her successor at a special meeting earlier this month. The board members met with Craig Misner from the Michigan Leadership Institute (MIL), the firm that Niles Community Schools used in its recent search for a new superintendent.

The board agreed to hire the firm, which will charge the district no more than $7,000, board member Lloyd Miller said in a phone interview Monday.

Miller said community input will be very valuable to the board in the process.

“We are planning community forums to get input from the community,” he said. “We need to take as much (input) as we can to determine the needs for the next three to five years.”

Miller said board members are aware they are working with a short time frame to make a hire.
“Our goal is to get something done as quickly as possible,” he said. “But these take a certain amount of time to go through all the steps. We want to get the right person not just get anyone by a given date.”

The board has not begun accepting applications, but steps are being taken in that direction. Each member of the board has listed and ranked criteria of the ideal candidate, which were given to the consultants from MIL to determine the top criteria in the search.

Miller said the district needs someone who can strengthen the district’s curriculum and handle “dealing with a financial crisis,” as the district still needs to cut $1 million from next year’s budget. And cuts seem to be part of the job description of a Michigan public school superintendent for the foreseeable future.

Two new board members will be elected in May, so “getting them integrated in the process will be critical,” Miller said. Board president John Colip and secretary Marlene Gauer are retiring this year and five candidates are on the ballot for the May election.

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