Published On: Thu, Feb 28th, 2013

Four candidates to interview for Supt. post

RANDOLPH — The Randolph Board of Education met Feb. 20, with two representatives of the Nebraska Association of School Boards to discuss the Superintendent’s position.

Marcia Herring, director of superintendent search service, and Sharon Endorf, event manager and field consultant met with the board in a closed-session meeting, providing the board with all the applicants for the position.

After discussion, the board chose to interview: Tamyra Pickering, Jeff Hoesing, Mike Williams, and Stephanie Petersen.

Two interview were conducted Feb. 25 and two more are set for Feb. 27.

Jeffrey Hoesing, Mullen, is currently in his seventh year as superintendent and elementary principal at Mullen Public Schools. Prior to this, Hoesing had been employed at Clearwater in various capacities: coach, activities director, industrial arts teacher, principal.

Hoesing holds an administrative and supervisory specialist certificate as well as a master’s degree in vocational education (industrial technology).

Stephanie Petersen, Laurel, has worked as an administrator for Laurel-Concord since 1997 and for Laurel-Concord-Coleridge since 2007. She is the elementary and middle school principal there and has previously worked as a teacher of vocal music as well as French and Spanish. Petersen has a specialist’s degree as well as a master of science in education.

Dr. Pickering, Grand Island, said she has been a teacher, team leader, elementary principal, and the 6–12 director of an alternative program. She has a doctor of education in educational administration, and while currently working for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Pickering had previously worked since 2003 as the director for Success Academy in Grand Island.

Michael Williams, Maywood, is both superintendent and principal at Maywood Public School, since July 2011, and before that, Williams was the K–12 principal at Bertrand Community School, since 1999. He is endorsed as a superintendent with a specialist certificate, and has a master’s in secondary education administration.

Williams has also worked as a teacher in the areas of applied math, physical education, health, and psychology/sociology and has held coaching and activities director positions.

Prior to presenting all the applicants, of which there were 15, Herring told the board that ever since the Randolph superintendent job was posted, “this has been a hot, hot position.”

Herring gave advice to the board on using an “assessment document,” if the members choose to do so. The rubric can help each member assess the applicants on their submitted materials first and then on their interviews later. A number score can be given to each person, if that helps the board members evaluate the applicants. Herring advised the board to keep in mind their “leadership profile;” the qualities they would most want to see in the next superintendent.

Herring strongly cautioned the board to be aware it is “very important, as you make your decision … to hire the right person that fits the leadership profile. Not the cheapest, not the person who falls within a budget,” but the person “who will lead you forward.”

Herring encouraged the board to “pay responsibly,” by which she explained that the board should be willing to pay at least the median superintendent wage since the board has access to those numbers, as do the candidates.

Furthermore, she said, she is most concerned with a “successful hire” for the district—a person that will have a good working relationship with the board, not someone who feels they could get paid more somewhere else. She said it would be a “solid decision” to maintain longevity through setting the base salary high enough. She cautioned against “fallout” from hiring with a low salary, something that could cause a superintendent to leave a few years down the road. “There is a market, and it drives the salary,” Herring pointed out.

Before the meeting with the school board, Herring and Endorf had met with the “stakeholders” who will also be interviewing the four candidates. One group of stakeholders includes the current administrator, Dennis Bazata, and certificated staff: Joan Albers, Karen Dominisse, Jim Hixon, and Mary Miller. The second group includes community members and classified staff: Peggy Leiting, Crystal Junck, Tim Lemons, Joanna Rayford, Tina Nordhues, Sue Lenhoff, Barb (Steve) Rohde, Myron Strathman, and Joy Winkelbauer.

These two groups will each have an hour to meet with each candidate and ask questions that they are to determine ahead of time. At the meeting that day, the NASB reps provided sample questions for the two groups and helped the group members form their own questions. As the group members collaborated among themselves, Herring and Endorf answered questions and provided instructions for the interview process.

Each group will compile one feedback form per group (not as individual members) for each candidate. The four forms from each group will be submitted to the school board for feedback. The feedback allows the board to understand what the groups liked and did not like about the candidates, but the groups are not allowed to make recommendations about whom they feel the board should hire, and the groups are not allowed to rank the candidates — those decision will be solely up to the board members. Herring explained to the school board that the feedback from the stakeholder groups can often reinforce what the board members were already thinking about a candidate, and the feedback can also point out things that the board members might not have realized.

Herring informed the stakeholders they must sign a confidentiality form stating they will not discuss the candidates with anyone else until the board has rendered a decision, after which time, said Herring, “you can sing like canaries.”

As soon as a verbal agreement has been made between the board and the new superintendent, the public will be allowed to know the decision. Before a formal contract can be signed, the new superintendent must be released from his or her current contract.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board also agreed on a contract to offer Principal Bazata.