Search for USD 235 superintendent to begin

Friday, November 13, 2015

The search for a permanent superintendent will soon get underway at USD 235 Uniontown School District.

USD 235 Board of Education President Matt Wood told board members during Monday's meeting they need to "get the ball rolling on a superintendent search."

"We have a number of decisions we have to come up with," Wood said. "We can do it all ourselves, or we can utilize the KASB (Kansas Association of School Boards) and the services they provide for a superintendent search.

"The cost (of the KASB services) would be $3,750 for a school district of our size," Wood said.

"You asked me to check with Greenbush (Education Service Center) as well." Interim Superintendent Jan Hedges said. "KASB is one service, Greenbush is another. Bart Swartz and Steve Parsons at Greenbush partner with Howard Smith at Pitt State. They do a similar thing as KASB."

Both are comparable in cost of the service, she said.

Both would meet with the board to learn of its expectations of a candidate or candidates if it decides to hire for the superintendent position and a junior/senior high principal position.

Currently Hedges holds both of these positions, as did former superintendent Randy Rockhold, who resigned in August.

Both service providers would provide all the needed steps to hire a new superintendent such as personal qualifications, professional background, compensation for the candidates, then screening of the candidates, background checks, and provide timelines for all steps in the process.

Two positions or one?

"Are you hiring a junior/high school principal and superintendent?" Hedges asked. "If that is the position, you have to clarify that."

Board member Lynne Oharah said in his opinion the superintendent position is not a full time one.

Either the superintendent position or the junior/senior high principal is going to have to be part-time or keep them combined, Wood said.

Board member Jason Sutterby asked Hedges her opinion about the combined role of superintendent and principal.

"I couldn't do it without Mr. Mason," Hedges said. "I think you would always need to have that piece, whether Mr. Mason or someone else, that can pick up the day-to-day. I think you would have to have a lead teacher or half-time assistant principal that would be a combination teacher/principal."

Jim Mason is the lead teacher and also the athletic director.

"I handle the daily discipline issues at the junior/senior high," Mason told the Tribune. "And any other duties deemed appropriate by the lead administrator."

Mason said this delegation of duties began in 2009 under Rockhold.

Hedges' time is spent 60 percent as superintendent and 40 percent as principal, she said.

"A bigger percentage at the superintendent role, but there is a percentage that is a principals role," she said. "There are some things as a superintendent I am not doing right now because I don't have time. Pre-K to 12 curriculum in the district needs to be done. Tyler (Jackman, West Bourbon Elementary principal) and I have talked about this some. Realistically, you could make the case for both (positions to be full time), but you don't have the budget to afford both to be full time.

"There hasn't been a week since I have started this job, that I haven't gotten a survey from the legislature, or state department of education and they are not easy to fill out," Hedges said. "They are time consuming."