It’s taken several months, but after some 20 to 30 meetings, an online survey and input from about 1,300 people, the Blue Valley school board has decided on a profile of what it wants its next superintendent to be.
The “leadership profile” the school board recently approved expressed a general satisfaction with the job the district has been doing, said school board president Mike Seitz. The list of ideal traits of the next superintendent is not significantly different from those of the last one.
Blue Valley is working with Chicago-based search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to find a replacement for Tom Trigg, who left the superintendent’s spot last summer to become superintendent of a Dallas-area district. Trigg had been Blue Valley’s top school executive for 11 years.
The district met with every conceivable constituency for input on the hiring, including administrators, teachers, parents, students, legislators and other community leaders, Seitz said. All that feedback was distilled by the school board into a profile that succinctly defines what the district is looking for. The profile will be used by the search firm and the board to match against prospective candidates. The board hopes to begin interviews in January and to announce Trigg’s successor in February or March, Seitz said.
According to the profile, the district is looking for someone with a “collaborative and inclusive” management style who will promote Blue Valley’s “culture of high expectations and traditions.”
The ideal candidate will also be a strong presence in the community, a good communicator and have strong political and financial acumen, according to the profile.
Those are all traits to be expected, said Seitz. “It seemed to me what wasn’t on there is what stood out,” he said.
People at the meetings did not ask for any significant changes in the district’s direction, he said. “The majority wanted to stay the course on our strategic plan,” Seitz said. “If there were academic problems or social problems we would have gotten a significant amount of negative feedback.”
Seitz said people who weighed in on the superintendent search generally wanted the district to continue to offer personalized learning to help students reach for high achievement. He said the feedback on the superintendent position matches a recent survey in which more than 90 percent of respondents rated the district highly in how it provides education.
“We were pleasantly surprised, not at the results, but at the number of people who showed interest and gave feedback,” at the focus groups and public meetings, he said.
The next step is for the board to arrive at an approximate salary. The board will hold a special meeting on that subject at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at 15020 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.
The salary will be negotiated, but having a ballpark figure will help the search firm, Seitz said. Trigg’s salary was $236,213.
The position already has been advertised in a few publications likely to be seen by school administrators, he said. The district has received about a dozen applications so far. The search firm will approach other possible candidates and do some preliminary interviews to narrow down the field before the school board begins its questioning and negotiations.
The process has been long and involved, but not unusual for the district, Seitz said.
“We are very, very good and the candidate we’re looking for needs to be very, very good,” he said.