The superintendent search from a PR perspective (part 4)

The first two steps in the superintendent search help get the school community involved in a preliminary way in the process of hiring a new superintendent.

The next two steps prepare the school community to engage with candidates.

3. Prepare the invitation to apply

For the superintendent search to be seen as fair and transparent, the school board should make the application package available for everyone in the district as well as potential candidates to read. Failure to make the materials publicly available often suggest to the public that the school board has something to hide.

The Franklin NY Central School District, which is currently seeking a superintendent, has made its information available on its website. The information is easy to find on the site. It:

  • gives an easy-to-read snapshot of the district,
  • tells why the superintendent position is open,
  • lists the titles of the administrative staff,
  • specifies the initial contract period and salary range,
  • lists what the district values in a superintendent.

Not only does the publicly posted information give potential applicants a way to quickly assess whether the job appeals to them but also gives the school employees, parents, and community accurate information about the superintendent search.

If a district has particular needs or interest areas, its school board may wish to consider whether there are ways to get a feel for how a short list of candidate performs in that area. For example, if the district is concerned about candidates’ ability to mentor teachers, the board might tell candidates that if they survive the first cut, they’ll be asked to submit a 2-4 minute video showing them mentoring a teacher or a 2-4 minute video in which one, two, or three teachers tell about their experience being mentored by the candidate.

4. Give potential interviewers resources

Unless the interviews are to be conducted entirely by human resources professionals, interview participants are likely to need some help preparing. The resources I discussed in an earlier blog post might be a good starting, since they are all available free online and could be made available via links on the school website.

Everyone who participates in interviewing candidates need to be aware of the kinds of questions that are prohibited by law.

They also need to know how to record information so that someone who did not observe the interviews would know what topics/questions were discussed and how each individual interviewer rated the candidates’ answers.

Tomorrow: Part 5

All the posts in this series:

  • Part 1: Introduction
  • Part 2: Identify stakeholders
  • Part 3: Set stage for stakeholder participation
  • Part 4:  Prepare the invitation to apply and  give potential interviewers resources
  • Part 5:  Keep good interview records
  • Part 6:  Check references following interviews
  • Part 7:  Explain your choice & archive paperwork