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Superintendent search begins

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Applications have started to come in for the position of superintendent of the Shelby County school system.

The Kentucky School Board Association, which is helping the district process the applications, has received five applications since the position was publicly advertised at the beginning of the month. KSBA expects to receive 15 to 20 total applications before the cutoff date on Feb. 25.

Mike Oder, KSBA superintendent search consultant, said that he is pleased with the initial response to the position.

"To have that many in 10 days is really encouraging," he said. "It tells me that there were people ready to apply before the advertisement was made official."

The KSBA is currently helping 10 school districts process applications for superintendent. They already completed one search this school year.

The local district has hired the KSBA to help it find a qualified permanent superintendent for a fee of $8,000. Shelby County's superintendent position was vacated by Elaine Farris last June and has been filled this school year by interim superintendent Dr. Susan Cook. Cook has stated that she is not interested in the permanent position.

As the applications are coming in, a superintendent search committee is now in the process of being formed. The committee is made up of one school board member, a principal, two educators, one classified staff, and one parent. An additional member will be added if one of the committee members nominated is not a minority.

The applications that KSBA receives will be handed over to the search committee.

On February 26, the KSBA will consult with the screening committee and with board of education about the screening process and the applicants. In total, the screening committee will discuss the applications at three meetings and then on March 10 it will finalize which applications they will recommend to the board for consideration. Typically, the committee will recommend five applications to the board. On March 12 the board and the committee will meet to talk about the recommended applications. From March 14 to 25, the board will hold interviews with the candidates. And on March 27, the board is scheduled to name a new superintendent.

The new superintendent's contract is scheduled to start on July 1, 2008.

Oder said that the KSBA is a resource to the search committee during the entire process.

On the KSBA website, the board describes the type of person they are looking for.

"The Shelby County Board of Education is seeking an outstanding educational leader with the ability to continue to move the district forward. To lead this school district of 6,114 students, candidates need to possess enthusiasm and experience in addition to bringing innovation to the position."

On the site, the board states that they will offer a competitive salary and benefits package to the successful candidate.

While the exact salary for the new superintendent was not listed, the salary for former Superintendent Elaine Farris was $123,554.