Time to take a pause

By Chuck Kajer

The New Prague Area School Board's superintendent search had mixed results. In some ways, it was a success, in that there was lots of dialogue among board members, stakeholders and community members regarding the type of superintendent we want.

In addition, the search resulted in three very good candidates who came in for a second interview. So impressive were these candidates that each of them was offered the job to lead our school district.

Unfortunately, no one accepted the offer.

School board members have taken the last couple of weeks to step back and think about what's next. Late summer and fall is not a good time for a school district to be looking for a new superintendent, since few are looking to move at that time of year.

One of the options discussed was to look at hiring an interim superintendent for the 2006-07 school year. Many districts hire an interim superintendent to help keep the district on a steady course as it prepares to bring in a new leader. Typically, the interim superintendent is a retired superintendent who agrees to take the reins until a replacement can be found.

The consulting firm hired to do the superintendent search for New Prague has found interim superintendents for other districts. In fact, Norm Miller, who worked with the district doing the search, just completed an interim position. There have also been a few names brought up in conversations of people who are familiar with the district and qualified for an interim job.

While delaying the search until spring means a longer period of uncertainty, it will also allow the district to attract the best pool of candidates for the position. New Prague is a vibrant, growing district with a lot going for it. We shouldn't just race to hire someone to fill the position. It is in the best interests of the school district to hold off on a permanent replacement and bring in an interim superintendent, so the search can be done right.

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