It does not look like Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 will have to worry about a lack of candidates to fill the district’s vacant superintendent position.
Almost three dozen people have already expressed interest in the position, even though the final version of the brochure had not been posted, the consultant conducting the search informed board members on Feb. 11, terming it a “good start.”
Alan Molby of the Illinois Association of School Boards told five of the seven board members at a committee of the whole meeting that 35 prospective candidates had started the application process on AppliTracks since the position was posted Jan. 26, the day after the board voted to hire the IASB to conduct the search.
AppliTracks is an online application process used by most school districts to recruit teachers and administrators.
Board members Mark Camasta and Sharon Anderson missed the meeting.
“There’s a pretty significant cadre of superintendents wanting to move or prospective superintendents,” Molby said in presenting board members with the final version of the brochure.
Following approval last week, the brochure was posted on the IASB website and advertised nationally on Feb. 12 with an application deadline of March 4.
Molby said he and two other IASB consultants will review all applications, conduct a limited background check and contact at least one reference. They will then present to the board a list of six candidates to be interviewed.
The IASB recommendations would be submitted prior to the March 10 committee of the whole meeting with the intent to review and discuss in a closed session that evening.
While discussing the interview schedule, Molby suggested holding meetings over a period of days rather than trying to meet with all six on the same day. He acknowledged that some boards have met with as many as six candidates on a Saturday afternoon. But, he said, impressions of candidates are less likely to blur when two interviews are conducted each night over a period of three days.
Molby said spreading the interviews out also gives board members the opportunity to review impressions after the interviews. He suggested allowing one hour for each interview and an hour to review impressions. Board member Joanne Schaeffer agreed, saying trying to interview six candidates in one day could be difficult. She suggested an alternative of interviewing two candidates on a Friday evening and the remaining four candidates on the following Saturday.
Molby provided sample interview questions and said he would be willing to work with the board to determine what questions should be asked.
“An hour goes by quickly,” he said, noting the importance of asking each candidate the same set of questions.
He suggested that each board member highlight 10 questions he or she thinks should be asked but Schaeffer recommended choosing 12 each since there’s a potential for overlap.
“We need to decide what we’re looking for,” she added.
Molby said the IASB would contact candidates once the list is approved and schedule interviews once days and dates had been determined.
Following interviews with the six candidates, Molby recommended the board choose two or three finalists and bring them back for second interviews, which would not be limited to one hour.
He suggested the finalists could visit schools and recommended meeting over dinner to provide a more relaxed and more social atmosphere, adding, “I’m just throwing out examples.”
Once a final choice has been determined, Molby recommended that two board members conduct a site visit to the candidate’s present district. The board then would be able to vote on offering a contract at either the April 14 or April 28 board meeting.
Schaeffer also expressed concern that a salary range had yet to be determined, asking “Won’t that affect responses?”
However, Molby said it is “quite common” for not posting a salary range, explaining that applicants have access to salary information for the last full-time superintendent and are aware of what comparable school districts are paying.
District 103 also used the IASB in 2012 when board members hired Mary Jo Vladika as superintendent. She retired in March, and Kyle Hastings has been serving as interim superintendent since May.