Brandywine to name search firm to find super

Published 9:38 am Monday, January 29, 2007

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – An executive search firm to hire the new Brandywine Community Schools superintendent could be named Monday night.
A special meeting of the Brandywine board of education to interview two search firms is scheduled for today at 7 p.m. in the conference room of the Bell Education Center, 1830 S. Third St. Phil Bozung, president of the Brandywine board of education, said he hopes one of the major recruiting firms will be selected at the meeting.
"The board has pretty much determined they want to go with an outside candidate [for superintendent]. So rather than try and do the search ourselves we will be enlisting one of the two firms to do the search," Bozung said. "I don't want to try and conduct the board search with just the board members. I don't think any of us have the time or capabilities to do that.
"The most important job of the board is to find and hire a super. And this one I want to do it right," Bozung added.
The two firms being considered are the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and the Michigan Leadership Institute (MLI). A representative from each firm will deliver a half-hour presentation, after which Bozung said he expects a motion and support to hire.
The board may wish to wait on the decision and consider both candidates, Bozung added.
"They may want to mull it over. At this point I'm hoping to get a decision."
From there, Bozung said there will probably be a community survey to determine what the public's thoughts are on a new school leader, followed by a brochure advertising the posted position. Open meetings discussing candidates that applied would follow.
Bozung said generic terms, such as "candidate one," would be used to discuss potential superintendents during the first round of interviews, which he called "a very interesting tap dance" of trying not to mention a candidate unless we're going to do an interview. Bozung said the board learned from their last superintendent search, when none of the candidates interviewed during the first round were hired, prompting and a second series of interviews and a unanimous 7-0 vote to hire current superintendent Gary Rider.
"We have to do everything in open meeting other than we can review qualifications in private, but we can't discuss or deliberate anywhere except public," Bozung said.
The goal is to have a new superintendent in place at Brandywine by July 1, Bozung said. Hiring any sooner would be asking superintendents currently working at other districts to leave their post with only two months left in the school year.
However, Bozung said starting the hiring process now by selecting a search firm places Brandywine ahead of other districts that will also be pursuing a new superintendent. That could leave Brandywine with the chance to have a first shot at the top candidates, he added.
Though a formal proposal is not expected until the Feb. 26 board meeting, Bozung said he has had discussions with Gary Campbell about being the district's interim superintendent. Campbell served in the same position between former superintendent Gene Sweeney and Rider, who is expected to start as superintendent of Thornapple Kellogg Schools March 1.
Merritt Elementary School Principal Karen Weimer will still head Brandywine's bond campaign that is expected on the May 8 ballot, Bozung said. Bond committee chairs are also meeting Monday to begin planning the campaign.