It didn’t take long for the Riverside-Brookfield High Township School District 208 board to reach consensus and decide to accept its search firm’s recommendation to delay a search for a new superintendent and instead concentrate on hiring a new principal.

The school board met with its consultant on Oct. 29 as a committee of the whole. Although no formal vote was taken, within just a few minutes it was clear that all the members of the school board wanted to go ahead with a search for a new principal and put off hiring a new superintendent.

“I think it makes sense to me,” said school board member Matt Sinde. “I also think it makes sense on the economic side. We are a one-school district.”

Board member Larry Herbst agreed.

“I’m in total agreement with what the board has decided to do,” Herbst said. “The most important person in a one-school district is the principal.”

Herbst said that the most important thing is bring a strong academic leader to RB.

On Oct. 13 consultants from Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), the firm hired to conduct the search for a new superintendent, recommended to the school board that they postpone their search for new superintendent and instead focus on hiring a new principal. District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette is expected to stay on until January 2011 and perhaps until June 2011.

Once the new principal is hired the school board will consider whether to hire a full-time or a part-time superintendent.

School board members believe that the new principal will be the day-to-day leader at RB.

“We are expecting that person to be the building leader,” said board President Jim Marciniak.

Bonnette will play an important role in the search for a new principal, since the search firm will identify and bring candidates to Bonnette and the school board.

“I want someone who is going to be an instructional leader,” Bonnette said.

Consultant Steve Humphrey presented the board with an aggressive timetable for the principal search.

HYA will return to RB on Dec. 3 and meet with wide variety of stakeholders as they gather information to develop the leadership profile which will identify the characteristics most desired in a new principal.

The leadership profile will be presented to the school board at its Dec. 8 meeting. According to the timetable, HYA will present list of five or six semifinalists to Bonnette on Jan. 5, 2010.

Bonnette and a board subcommittee will then interview the semifinalists during the week of Jan. 11. The next week the three finalists will return to the school for more interviews with the entire school board and perhaps an open meeting with the community.

The timetable calls for the school board to name the new principal on Feb. 9. The new principal would begin work at RB on July 1.

Marciniak said that the aggressive timetable would give RB the pick of top candidates.

“We want to be there early in the year when the quality folks might be looking to advance their careers,” Marciniak said. “You know there’s probably not a bad time to do this, but this happens to be a good time and it’s the recommendation we’re getting from our consultants.”