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Van-Far board takes next step in Supt. search

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

The Van-Far R-I School Board took the next step towards hiring a new superintendent by holding a special meeting with an MSBA representative to officially get the search underway. Current Superintendent Chris Felmlee recently tendered his resignation that will be effective on June 30 to accept the same position with the Southern Boone County R-VI School District.

Dr. Bob Watkins, a consultant who assists with Superintendent Search Services through the MSBA, attended the meeting to help the board establish a schedule for the hiring process.

Dr. Watkins said this search will be the 105th for him during his career.

“We have a guarantee to go back and do it again and we’ve never have had to go back,” he added.

The board began the meeting by approving a contract with Dr. Watkins and the MSBA for $5,000 for their services during the search.

The position will now be placed on the MSBA website and the job opportunity will also be visible by other school board websites nationwide.

Scheduling for the Van-Far superintendent search includes:

• Applications being due March 1.

• Meeting with Dr. Bob Watkins at 6:45 p.m. on March 4 to go over applications.

• Interviews will be held with top applicants on March 11 and March 12, starting at 6 p.m.

The board followed with a 6-1 vote to approve a measure allowing Dr. Watkins to explain the procedures in hiring a Superintendent to administrators, teachers, and staff early on February 21, the same day as the district’s monthly board meeting.

Board member Larry Wheeler cast the lone “No” vote.

“I think when you hire administration, it should be the board and administrators and that’s it,” Wheeler said.

“Any time you have people in the dark, that’s how rumors get started,” said board member Charlie Scrogin, who was in favor of the decision.

The board then discussed the basic information that would be displayed to potential candidates.

Dr. Watkins said salary range and experience are extremely important items to discuss.

Discussion included comparisons to other towns and their salary range being between $90,000-$110,000 in hiring a superintendent. Though the total wasn’t voted on as of press time, the Van-Far board did discuss the possibility of hiring the position with a salary range of $80,000-$95,000.

Dr. Watkins said cautioned the board to not lose good candidates over $1,000. He said the Van-Far board will be likely receiving applications from quite a range of candidates.

Board member Dr. Robert Frost asked Dr. Watkins if board members have a candidate in mind, what should they do? Dr. Watkins encouraged the board to have potential candidates contact him or provide him a name. A superintendent certification will be required for the job and a two year contract will be available. It was noted that the multi-year contract was important for the hiring pool.

The board then discussed the importance of the candidate being willing to relocate and live within the district. It was noted that if a candidate lives in a nearby district, they could receive an exemption.

Dr. Watkins gave board members a six page survey to be turned in next week and tabulated in time for the February 21 meeting.

Wheeler then shared concerns about the book full of potential questions the MSBA provides boards to help in the interview process.

Dr. Watkins said the book is to help boards to not forget some of the important questions.

Board member Pete Nasir said it’s important to not ask different questions to every candidate or the process could be “skewed.”

Board President Christy Nelson encouraged a procedure to be established for the interview process when the board meets with Dr. Watkins on March 4.