NLS begins process of selecting new superintendent
NEW LONDON -- The process for selecting a new superintendent in the New London-Spicer School District has begun. Current Superintendent Paul Carlson is not retiring until the end of June, but the board has set a schedule that calls for interviewi...
NEW LONDON - The process for selecting a new superintendent in the New London-Spicer School District has begun.
Current Superintendent Paul Carlson is not retiring until the end of June, but the board has set a schedule that calls for interviewing finalists for the job by the end of January.
Because the board wanted to get the "cream of the crop," members decided to start looking for candidates now, said Megan Field, NLS director of communications.
A significant part of the process is hearing from the community, school staff and the school board about the characteristics they want in the next leader and what needs they want to be the focus of that new leader in the coming years.
The district began distributing surveys Monday that help probe those issues.
The survey asks community stakeholders to identify the district's educational strengths and challenges and also the skills, characteristics and job focus they want in a new superintendent.
The survey was written by Greg Vandal, a consultant from Peer Solutions who has been hired to help lead the district through the process and vet potential candidates.
By Tuesday morning, Vandal said there had already been nearly 200 responses, which he said far exceeds typical survey responses of this time.
Field said she's not surprised.
"We have a very active community and they step up when we need them to," she said.
Links to the survey were sent via email to school staff and parents Monday. The survey can be completed online by accessing it from the school's website and paper copies of the survey are also available at the district office, Field said.
Vandal said people who care about what happens to kids should care about who is selected as the school's superintendent. He said "nothing matters more than what we do with our kids" and no one impacts that more than a school superintendent.
"Now is the time to get involved," he said.
Besides analyzing the surveys, Vandal will also conduct meetings Jan. 9 with four separate groups: the community, school staff, school administrators and the school board.
Vandal said he will look for common threads between what those groups want and then look for candidates that could best meet those needs.
Candidates have until Jan. 18 to apply for the job, but Vandal said he's already received calls from individuals and he has reached out to potential candidates who "at first blush" might be a good match for NLS.
Vandal said he isn't a headhunter who finds the next superintendent for the district, but instead brings "the best quality slate of candidates" to the school board, which will make the final decision.
Vandal said perception of a school district "has everything to do with the quality of the candidates" it attracts and he said NLS's strong reputation will enhance the school's ability to attract good applicants.
"This is a prized district," Vandal said. "It has a lot of things going for it."
He said one of the first questions candidates typically ask pertains to how a school district's board of education functions.
Potential candidates are "not interested in high drama and politics" but are eager to work with boards that are "dedicated to kids."
NLS has three new members coming on board in January.
Field said two current school board members and one new one will serve on a committee that will screen the initial slate of candidates.
That committee will select the finalists that will be interviewed.
Those interviews, which are currently scheduled for Jan. 31, will be open to the public.