Hedges to remain another year as interim USD 235 board to resume search for new superintendent/principal in the fall

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Neither of the two candidates interviewed for the USD 235 superintendent/secondary principal job have been selected to take the helm.

Instead, Interim Superintendent/Secondary Principal Jan Hedges has agreed to remain in the USD 235 leadership role for another year, and the search for a permanent superintendent/principal will resume in the fall.

Following a search which netted two candidates to interview, the board instead extended the dual position to Hedges, until June 30, 2017.

The announcement was made during a special board of education meeting Monday following a 45-minute executive session which was extended 15 minutes. Hedges was asked to join the board at different times during the sessions.

"It was a decision in the best interest of the school district," Matt Wood, board president said. "She is a quality person, a quality leader for our school district. Just looking at where Jan has taken us this past (school year). We are very happy she has agreed to stay on."

Search clarified Hedges desire to stay

There was a conversation with Hedges as the district went through the search process, Wood said.

After the two candidates were interviewed last week, a conversation began between Hedges and the board about the possibility of her staying longer.

"In this position she realized how much she loved the school district and the teachers," Wood said. "It was a transition in her mind as to whether she wanted to continue in this position and I'm very thankful she has chosen to accept.

"As she went through the process and looked at the candidates," Wood said. "I'm sure it was something in her mind, as she looked at her qualities and her strengths that she felt she could best serve this district. "

"I have fallen in love with this place and the people here," Hedges said. "The staff is still a little fragile right now. And we have some things that we have started and there is no way we are going to get them completed. It became apparent to really help the district move forward, that I needed to stay another year. I volunteered to do that."

New search next school year

Information gathered during the current superintendent search will be needed to begin a new search at the end of 2016, Wood said.

"All the information gathered is there for us," Wood said. "Another year down the road...that gives us a different pool of candidates to look at. Maybe we don't need as much experience in bond issues, we need more experience in other avenues. The process we've had has been great, the pool of candidates we have had has been great. Taking nothing away from the two candidates we interviewed, we feel as a school board we are best suited with Hedges," Wood said.

He said the district will start the search again the fall.

"We won't have to go through all the community interviews and focus groups," Woods said. "It will just be the opening up of the application. We can lengthen the time we have in the interview process. Then by July 1, 2017 we'll hope to have another superintendent."


Hedges said she is excited about the position and wants to continue what has been started since she came on board in August.

"We just need a little bit more time to do curriculum development" she said. "We have started work on science (curriculum), we'll start looking at some things with math. We are looking at staff participation in helping make decisions and team building, those types of things.

"It's been a little bit of an unstable year (for the district)," Hedges said after the meeting. "Providing a little bit of continuity,will maybe make it easier for the next person to come in."

History of search

The search for a new superintendent began after Randy Rockhold resigned unexpectedly Aug. 17. Hedges of Fort Scott was hired as interim superintendent on Aug. 25.

In order to find a permanent replacement, the board of education enlisted the assistance of a committee consisting of Dr. Howard Smith, Pittsburg State University, along with Bart Swartz and Steve Parsons of Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush.

The committee met with the board and community focus groups to formulate what the position would entail.

Applications were posted online in late November, with a deadline of Jan.11.

Three applicants were called to interview.

One, Dr. Daniel Johnson of Prescott, withdrew his application shortly after the names of the applicants were announced Jan. 14.

The other applicants interviewed were Craig Bagshaw of Chanute and Gary Klahn of Nebraska.