School Board outlines needs for new superintendentThis isn't 2004.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
This isn't 2004.
That was the sentiment Red Wing School Board members expressed as they began the first steps in replacing retiring Supt. Stan Slessor.
The 62-year-old was hired in 2004, when the district was still reeling after a divisive teachers union strike. Red Wing School Board member Mitch Boldt said the board opted for Slessor -- regarded by district leaders as a collaborative, education-centered executive -- over a finalist with a stronger business background.
But a push among board members toward developing a consistent staff evaluation system will mean different priorities in this year's superintendent search.
"The business end of it, in my opinion, is pretty strong," Boldt said. "It's going to be a real strong component this time around."
School Board members met Monday with superintendent search consultant Ken LaCroix, who updated them on the process and solicited their input as he puts out the call for a new district leader.
Other board members echoed Boldt's message that a business background will be a focus. But School Board member Paul Kramp said that must be paired with a strong educational component.
"You've got to have someone who can balance the two aspects together," he said.
Still, he said the new superintendent should be expected to take a stand on controversial issues.
"Sometimes the superintendent has to take a few arrows," Kramp said.
Though Boldt - the only remaining board member who served during the last superintendent search - said the business end of the role is "not (Slessor's) forte," he commended LaCroix for his help in landing the current executive.
"The bar is set high and we expect nothing less this time," Boldt said.
The application process, which began late last month, closes Jan. 14. From there, LaCroix explained, the process will pick up steam.
The timeline he laid out for the board calls for a Jan. 18 meeting where first-round candidates will be publicly identified. Interviews will be conducted between Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, he said.
The candidates will be narrowed - likely to two, LaCroix said - and will undergo second interviews in mid-February.
"You're going to know these candidates really well by then," he said.
The board would announce its selection at a Feb. 16 meeting, according to LaCroix's timeline.
So far there have been two applicants for the job, though LaCroix told board members not to expect a flurry of applications until the final days before the deadline.
"There won't be a ton," he said, "but there will be enough."
LaCroix said he has placed online notices, called potential candidates and distributed a brochure advertising the position.
Other Minnesota districts also searching for superintendents include Faribault, Stillwater, Duluth, International Falls and Le Sueur-Henderson, LaCroix said.
The consultant said he expects the primary applicant base to come from Minnesota, but -- noting that Slessor was culled from Iowa -- said other Midwestern candidates could be in the mix.