School superintendent list narrowed to seven
The Stevens Point Area Public School District moved forward with its search for a new superintendent, having narrowed the list of candidates to seven during a special meeting Monday, Feb. 29.
School officials would not disclose any information about any of the candidates. Information on those being considered for hire will only be released after the interviews are conducted March 8 and 9 and the board has a chance to name finalists, said Sarah O’Donnell, district director of communications.
Nearly two dozen people – half of whom have superintendent experience – put in their application to fill the permanent position. Monday night, the Steering Committee narrowed the field to seven based on the board-determined qualifications for the position.
The district asked for few qualifications: Qualified candidates would preferably have a doctorate, preferably would have experience as a superintendent, and must have or be able to obtain a superintendent certification in Wisconsin.
The School Board, in its final hiring flyer, focused more on leadership qualities and communication skills, such as “experience in the selection and implementation of educational priorities consistent with the needs of students, staff, board and community,” success with budget practices and management of district resources, collaborative and team-oriented, success in building consensus, commitment between individuals and groups, and flexibility in thinking to name a few.
The School Board expects to choose finalists at its March 14 meeting based on the interviews next week. The board then plans to hold meet and greet events and other opportunities for the community to meet the finalists before making a final determination at its April 11 School Board meeting.
The district has been without a permanent superintendent for nearly a year. Lee Bush has served as interim superintendent since last summer; he will continue in that role until June 30 at which time the new superintendent would begin duties.
Former Superintendent Attila Weninger resigned amid discord in May 2014, but agreed to carry out his contract, which ended in July last year. Following Weninger’s resignation, the board hired Ray and Associates at a cost of $16,000 to find a new superintendent. It took almost five months, but the firm produced about 30 candidates, which were pared to two, one of whom was a candidate from within the district, and the other was familiar with the district and its operations.
Following several public forums, surveys and other community input, the board voted in March 2015 not to hire either of the finalists.
After the board failed to choose a superintendent from two finalists last year, it agreed in December to establish a Screening Committee to review and rate applications for the next search. The Screening Committee, which is made up of the cabinet, three teachers, three administrators, three community members, three other District employees and two students, will observe final interviews and provide input to the board in April.
The School Board has set the superintendent salary range of $145,000 to $165,000.
Stevens Point Area Public School District is the 16th largest of the 449 districts in the state, according to Department of Public Instruction rankings by enrollment. It is the largest school district of the 35 in CESA 5, and the third largest in central Wisconsin behind Appleton and Wausau school districts.