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109 Board Includes Public in Superintendent Search

Consultants offer portrait of ideal candidate to replace retiring Renee Goier.

A consensus was reached by the Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education at its meeting Monday to have eight to 12 members of the public included in a confidential interview process to hire a replacement for Superintendent Renee Goier who retires June 30.

The Board had been split on the issue of allowing anyone but the elected members to offer input because it could reduce the potential applicant pool. After a presentation by consultants Hank Gmitro and Kim Perkins, reluctant officials changed their mind.

Earlier: District 109 Superintendent Search Moves Ahead

Gmitro and Perkins told the Board a small group with each member signing a confidentiality agreement would not likely reduce the applicant pool though a public meeting with the finalists for the job would. The proposed group would offer input but not recommendations.

“This may have some value given what has gone on in this District,” Gmitro said. His comment was based on a report he made Monday based on 106 interviews with teachers, administrators, students, members of school organizations and the general public as well as result from more than 200 on line surveys.

After Board members expressed support for the idea, their colleague, Ron Worth changed his mind about keeping the selection a closed process.

“I was in favor of a closed session if you want to find someone who walks on water,” Worth said. “The way you’ve laid it out I think it will be a win win,” he added referring to the suggestions of Gmitro and Perkins.

After Worth’s comments, Board President Ellen London was ready to move forward with the formation of a group. “How about I write up a list of constituent groups to include parents, teachers and administrators and put it together,” she said.

Gmitro outlined the profile of an ideal superintendent based on what he learned talking to the Board and other members of the community.

“(The candidate should) be a collaborative and effective communicator, a knowledgeable and visionary educator, an effective and insightful systems thinker, a proactive and resourceful problem solver and a competent and detail oriented manager,” Gmitro said.

In other business, the Board heard a presentation on the 2012 property tax levy, student performance on the ISAT tests and changes in special education programs. Patch will have detailed stories this week on the superintendent search and these issues.

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Richard Heller October 16, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Using a sounding board composed of parents, teachers, and other concerned groups and individuals is a big step in the direction of healing some of the issues the board faces with the community. Congratulations on taking this step. My only suggestion would be to include the people running for the open board positions who receive the endorsement of the caucus.
John Russillo October 16, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The consultant did a very nice job of putting together the Superintendent profile. It all boiled down to one word: Trust. After the events of the last year, the next Supt will need to rebuild trust between the administration, parents, and teachers. I'm pretty confident they will select some good candidates to interview. Of course, regardless of who provides input, it's the BOE who makes the final decision, and that remains a concern.
katie Bittner October 16, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Involving parents and those in the community serving in "leadership" roles means including everyone- whether they agree with you or not. Embracing all members of the community, especially small vocal groups is the first step in rebuilding trust. It is obvious from the report given by the Search firm that trust and establishing good communication are the priorities that the new Superintendent and Board members will need to focus on. Let's all watch and see what happens next in this process, for it speaks to how much the Board really wants community input and involvement in this process.
barry October 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM
If a "cherry picked" group is selected it will be a setback for what otherwise would have been a noble compromise to an interim superintendent being hired. I for one will be curious to see the names.

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