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Board sets calendar for Superintendent search


Community forums set for this week

By Judy Reed

If you live or work in the Cedar Springs School District and would like a voice in what qualities the Cedar Springs Board of Education should look for in a new Superintendent, you will have the opportunity to do that this week.

The board held a special meeting Thursday evening, April 19, where they met with search consultant Gary Rider, of the Michigan Leadership Institute (MLI) and set a tentative timeline for the search.

Rider and the board discussed the importance of feedback from parents, students, staff, and the community throughout the process. “Mr. Rider will be facilitating focus group meetings and a community forum to explain the search process, and a survey to gather data regarding what people would like to see in their next superintendent will be posted on the district web site. This data will be compiled and given to the Board to consider when developing a profile for the ideal candidate,” said Board President Heidi Reed.

The short three question survey can be found on their website at http://www.csredhawks.org/. Just scroll down to where it says, “Take the Superintendent Search Survey.” It is available now through noon on Saturday, April 28.

Rider will also be holding focus group meetings and community forums this week. The community forums will be held in the Hilltop 3rd floor boardroom on Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m., and then on Friday, April 27, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. The public is invited to attend any of these.

A preliminary job posting was put up online last Friday, April 20, just putting the position out there. After the board gets feedback from the survey and the focus groups and community forums, they will put together the candidate profile, which will be posted by May 4.

Rider stressed to the board the importance of listening to the feedback they get from the community, staff and students. “If you don’t take that feedback and include it in the profile, they should call you out on it,” remarked Rider. “You need to be accountable to them. You are looking for credibility. This is a great opportunity to show it.”

The application deadline for the position will be May 16. Rider expects a good pool of qualified candidates to apply for the position. “I anticipate the district will attract quality applicants both close to Cedar Springs and from outside the area,” said Rider.

The board will meet on May 18 to review the applications in closed session, and then will announce in open session which candidates will be interviewed. The first round of interviews will take place on June 7 and 8, with second round interviews on June 26 and 27. Rider said the community would be involved in those interviews by giving written feedback and questions to the board.

July 10 and 11 have been blocked out for possible site visits.

Rider noted that the community and staff don’t want this to be rushed. He said he would do a thorough job regardless of the time frame.

During the public comment time, both teacher Jen Kahler and community resident Sue Wolfe said they felt like the search was being rushed. Wolfe noted that not only arethey are down a board member, but she asked what happens if Matt McConnon decides he can’t serve if the decision comes back from the prosecutor’s office that he can’t serve on both the school board and Courtland Township? And what happens when Brook Nichols leaves? (She is selling her house but will probably still be on board through early July.) She also noted that many people would be busy during this time.

Shannon Cooper said she would support the board if they felt confident they could give themselves the time to do it right now.

The next regular board meeting is Monday, April 23 at 6:45 at Hilltop.

 

 

 

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