Interview set for Edwardsburg superintendent candidate

EDWARDSBURG — The Edwardsburg School Board has scheduled a first-round interview for its next superintendent.

Current Assistant Superintendent James Knoll will have his first-round interview for the position of Edwardsburg superintendent at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at the Edwardsburg Administration Building. The school board is encouraging community members to attend the meeting in order to provide feedback and submit interview questions.

“We hope parents, members of the community, students and staff will attend the interviews,” said Birdella Holdread, the Edwardsburg School Board president. “Everyone attending will be asked to provide the board written feedback on the candidate at that time. It will be very important for the board to have this feedback to inform their decisions during this process.”

James Knoll

The interview for Knoll was scheduled after the school board met Wednesday, March 21 to view and deliberate about applicants. There was only one applicant for the position.

Knoll has worked at Edwardsburg Public Schools for the past three school years and is currently the assistant superintendent. He has been in the education field for more than 20 years as a teacher and building and district administrator. From 2004 to 2013, Knoll worked for the Niles Community Schools District.

The board is interviewing for the position after current superintendent Sherman Ostrander announced in December that he would be retiring at the end school year. Last month, the school board began the process of searching for his replacement.

Knoll’s second interview is scheduled tentatively for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29.

Anticipating that they may need a second [interview] date, the board at least wanted people to know that, so there isn’t really short notice for that second date,” said Gary Rider, who is assisting the school board in the hiring process. “It’s easier to cancel a second date than it is to add it.”

However, after the first interview, the board could decide to hire Knoll or open the search back up to other candidates. A second interview is not a mandatory part of the process.

“They could decide to take any of the next steps that they feel appropriate,” Rider said.

At this time, the hiring process has only been open to internal candidates.

In order to prepare for community members to attend the interview, Rider and others intend to reconfigure the boardroom so that it able to better situate a large crowd.

“I am hopeful that we can pack the room,” Rider said.

Community members that attend the meeting will be given an interview sheet so that they may provide the board with their impression of the candidate. They will also be given a form to submit a question.

In total, Rider expects the interview to last around an hour and a half: one hour for the board to interview the candidate and then some time for the candidate to ask the board questions. The board hopes that there will be time for questions from the community to be asked and that the community plays an active role in the hiring process.

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