4J Hires Search Firm to Find Next Superintendent

The search is on. Earlier this month, the Eugene 4J School Board hired a professional executive search firm to find a replacement for outgoing 4J Superintendent Sheldon Berman. Board Chairman Jim Torrey says the board hopes to finalize a candidate by the end of March 2015. He says the board is working with the firm to prioritize candidates from the Pacific Northwest “first and foremost,” and the next step is getting input from stakeholders and the community.

The search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), is based in Rosemont, Illinois, and is “the nation’s largest executive search firm serving public school districts,” according to its website. Torrey says HYA brought a successful superintendent candidate to the Medford School District, and he and other board members were particularly impressed with the way HYA planned to help the board reach out to the community for input in the selection process.

4J Communications Coordinator Kerry Delf says that 4J is expecting to pay HYA approximately $22,500 for its services, although she says this is preliminary and not necessarily inclusive of all costs. Other costs include around $3,000 to advertise the vacant superintendent position, about $7,500 in travel expenses for the search firm and background checks of the candidates, which cost about $1,000 per candidate.

“It’s the board’s decision and job to select a new superintendent, but they really care about the input of the members of our community in all the decisions that they make,” Delf says.

She says the search will include a screening committee made up of parents, community members and other stakeholders. In December, representatives from HYA will interview individual stakeholder groups to assess the values and characteristics they seek in a superintendent.

Torrey says that in coming months, HYA will release an online survey so that members of the community can comment on the superintendent search.

HYA will collect data from the online survey and compile it in a report to the school board, according to HYA’s website. “Overall, this leadership assessment process has been highly successful in determining critical attributes, while invariably building positive public relations,” the website says.

Torrey says that personally, he’d like to see a superintendent candidate who has knowledge of the Common Core State Standards, and he’s interested in “how they feel about testing and how they would go about working with the teaching and administrative staff.”

He adds, “It would be helpful if they had a recognition of the financial limitations that all school districts in Oregon live within.”

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