Phenix City Board of Education approves superintendent search plan

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 28, 2014 

The Phenix City Board of Education at a called meeting Friday unanimously approved the qualifications, selection procedure and timeline to hire its next superintendent.

Offering a salary range of $125,000 to $145,000, the board lists 18 qualifications in the superintendent search brochure:

• Will be chosen for general fitness and character; possesses high standards of ethics, integrity, personal conduct and vision.

• Must hold at least a master's degree from an Alabama State Department of Education recognized four-year college or university. A doctorate is preferred but not required.

• Must have or be eligible for a leadership certificate issued by the ALSDE.

• Must have at least five years of experience in public school work with at least three years successful experience as a teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent, educational administrator or instructor in school administration during the five years preceding the appointment.

• Demonstrates the proven ability and commitment to being an instructional leader, raising student achievement and closing the achievement gap.

• Demonstrates knowledge of curriculum, instruction, curriculum development and school improvement.

• Demonstrates loyalty to the Board of Education.

• Expresses a vision for the future of the school system and ability to develop and implement that vision through long- and short-term planning.

• Demonstrates skills to address school finance regulatory requirements and fiscal management challenges with a documented history of strong school finance skills.

• Demonstrates knowledge of school law and current legal issues facing public education, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

• Demonstrates effectiveness in personnel selection, staff development, staff assignment and personnel evaluation.

• Demonstrates a commitment and devotion to public education; demonstrates ability in effective public relations, including the ability to work responsively and effectively with and be accessible to diverse groups, such as the community, parents, board members, faculty, staff, students, alumni, state and federal legislators, local and city officials, and media.

• Provides evidence of solid human relations skills that inspire harmony, high morale and team building among the staff, community and board.

• Demonstrates ability to seek appropriate input, make prompt and effective decisions, and delegate responsibility.

• Demonstrates willingness to be actively involved in community affairs and organizations other than education and through such involvement to promote community interest and involvement in the school system.

• Demonstrates commitment to providing students and staff with the resources necessary to reach their potential.

• Demonstrates effective oral and written communication skills.

• If hired, must satisfactorily complete ALSDE training on school finance, education law and curriculum/instruction.

The tentative schedule calls for the vacancy to be posted Wednesday, the application deadline to be April 14 and the preferred start date to be June 1, said board president Brad Baker. To save money and expedite the process, the board will conduct the search by itself and not use a consultant, he said.

Here's a summary of the selection procedure:

• Board attorney Sydney Smith will screen the applications to determine which ones meet the qualifications.

• Alabama law considers superintendent applications public records once they are received by board members. Smith will contact the qualified applicants to ensure they are aware of that provision and determine whether they still want to be considered for the position.

• Smith will redact from each certified candidate's application the sensitive information that should not be disclosed to the public, based on attorney general opinions and case law, then submit the applications to the board members.

• The board will designate a representative to conduct a background check on the candidates and a representative to contact their references.

• The board may send one of its members to an applicant's area of residence to learn more.

• The board will decide which applicants to interview. Alabama law requires those interviews to be conducted in public.

“It’s going to take a lot of our time, obviously," Baker said of the superintendent search. "We are an appointed board. We do not get paid for what we do, but I think we all around this table love these school children and this school system, and this is a task that I’m willing to do and I think everyone else is too."

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