Search process outlined at school board meeting

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Schools in Patrick County are set to open Aug. 8, and a new superintendent is expected to take over the helm on Jan. 1, 2020.

That is according to a schedule for the superintendent search Acting Superintendent Dr. J. David Martin unveiled Thursday at the Patrick County School Board meeting.

Martin also is conducting the search for a new superintendent via a process that he said “is proven.”

The process began on his July 1 start date, as Martin started conducting interviews of stakeholders in the community. Between then and Thursday, Martin said he completed 25 of those face to face interviews, asking each person the same five questions.

The interviews are designed to produce trends and commonalities, Martin said. For instance, the interviews may show that good communication skills are deemed by many as an important attribute for a new superintendent.

Martin said he will continue those interviews until Aug. 8, when the school board holds a public hearing to give members of the public the opportunity to share their opinions about the skills and qualities they want in a new superintendent.

An online survey will be posted on the division’s website on Aug. 9 and remain through Sept. 6 to give residents another tool to provide input, he said.

All of the information obtained will be used to develop a profile of the qualities sought in a new superintendent, he said, adding that the school board may hold a special called meeting on or around Sept. 7 to discuss development of the profile, approve the job announcement and application.

On Sept. 12, Martin will update the board on the process and also release the profile and applications.

He anticipates applications for the position will be accepted Sept. 13 through Oct. 11, with a special called meeting potentially held on Oct. 19 to develop interview questions.

The first round of interviews is tentatively set for Nov. 1 and 2, Martin said, adding that part of the process will not be open to the public.

“This is not to keep the public away, but it is the board’s job to interview and select the next candidate,” Martin said.

A second round of interviews may be held on Nov. 16, with a special called meeting expected on Dec. 5 for an announcement by the school board. The new hire would then begin Jan. 1.

The timeline also will provide the successful candidate ample time to give notice to a current employer, if needed, Martin said.

In his dual role as acting superintendent, Martin also has implemented some changes on the board’s agenda.

For instance, Martin said “good things happening” in schools will be highlighted at upcoming meetings, beginning with the Aug. 8 meeting when schools earning achievement awards from the state will be recognized.

The new agenda also includes a section for reports from school board members (who may provide an update on a conference attended) as well as time for a superintendent’s report.

The board’s consent agenda also now includes credit card statements from each of the schools, along with an explanation of expenses — some of which Martin highlighted at the meeting.  

In other matters, the board:

*Approved a Consent Agenda that included minutes of the June 20 meeting, regular invoices through July 18, final reports for fiscal ’19 and field trips.

*Learned an administrative academy will be held July 29 at Patrick County High School. The session will allow staff to review policies and procedures, as well as pinpoint any problems;

*Learned a convocation will be held on Aug. 2 to celebrate the return to classes.

“We are here because we love kids and we really want them to succeed,” Martin said. “We model for kids every day,” regardless of the position held in the division.

“That’s why everybody in the school system is invited,” Martin said. “It’s a serious thing working with kids, but you’ve got to have fun.”