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Notes on Recent Superintendent Searches

Notes on Recent Superintendent Searches

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Published by Brendan Walsh
A reasonably high volume of metro Detroit area school districts have expereinced turnover among their superintendents. This document gathers some of the details of several of those school districts with an emphasis on process and timeline.
A reasonably high volume of metro Detroit area school districts have expereinced turnover among their superintendents. This document gathers some of the details of several of those school districts with an emphasis on process and timeline.

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Published by: Brendan Walsh on Feb 15, 2011
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Last Revised February 14, 2011
Metro Detroit Public SchoolDistrict SuperintendentSearches
Notes on Recent Activity
Brendan Walsh
 
Metro Detroit Public School District Superintendent Searches
Notes on Recent ActivityBrendan Walsh
Last revised February 14, 2011 Page 2
 
Table of Contents
Introduction
The Grosse Pointe Public School System has been under the leadership of Dr. C. Suzanne Klein forthirteen years and has thus had little direct exposure to superintendent searches. Such long tenureis not particularly common these days. Many school districts across the state have participated inthese kinds of searches. This document is an attempt to capture high level details of some of thoseexperiences.Reviewing their experiences and analyzing the processes they followed may be informative to ourefforts. Particular note should be paid to the use of search firms, the search firm selection process,and obviously the superintendent search process and timeline itself.For reference, I have listed the size of the school districts mentioned both in rank among those inthe state as well as in the number of students. GPPSS is about the 31
st
largest in the state and hasabout 8,400 students.
Disclaimer
These notes represent the personal research of Brendan Walsh of recent Metro Detroit public school district superintendent searches. This is NOT an official document of the Grosse Pointe Public School System or the Board of Education. I did not develop this at the direction of the Board of Education nor is there any requirement to usethis document in any way, shape or form in an official capacity for the district.I compiled the information for my own edification and upon completing it thought I would make it available for others to use, or not use, as they see fit.
 
Metro Detroit Public School District Superintendent Searches
Notes on Recent ActivityBrendan Walsh
Last revised February 14, 2011 Page 3
 
 Ann Arbor Public Schools
7
th
largest public school system in the state, 16,492 studentsFormer Superintendent Todd Roberts, who previous to his AAPS post was Asst. Supt forCurriculum and Instruction in Birmingham (MI) City Schools, resigned from AAPS on August13
th
, 2010. The resignation was abrupt and immediate, with no time for overlap in atransitional phase as Roberts moved his family out of state.Given this shortness of time, the AAPS Board appointed an interim superintendent onOctober 27, 2010 and set a goal of hiring the next superintendent on May 4, 2011.Within two weeks of Roberts announcement, the AAPS Board of Education had issued an RFPfor a search firm to find a replacement that called for a Board decision on the search firm bythe end of September.AAPS received seven bids for search firm services ranging in price from $17,000 to $30,000.Four bidders were Michigan based firms and one each from Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.Within a week after the bids were received, the AAPS Board of Education narrowed the list ofsearch firms to five. Within a week of this, they had scheduled interviews with:
o
 
Michigan Association of School Boards;
o
 
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Rosemont, Ill.;
o
 
McPherson and Jacobson, LLC of Omaha, Neb.;
o
 
Ray & Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
o
 
David Kinsella & Associates, based in Ann Arbor.By the end of September (a month after the RFP was issued), the AAPS Board haddecided to hire Ray and Associates out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa at an estimated cost of$21,000 to$24,000.In mid-October the AAPS Board began discussing new salary for the next superintendentin a public meeting and had also announced three community forums taking place onthree consecutive nights in the last week of October to receive input on what thecommunity wanted in a new superintendent. The forums were facilitated by the searchfirm. (One of the sessions covered by the press reported 20 people attended, moststudents from Skyline HS attending for class purposes.)In early November, Ray and Associates delivered to the AAPS Board a report on salariesof other superintendents locally. Roberts had been paid $180,000. The Board concludedfor the purposes of informing the search that the salary of the next AAPS superintendentwould be approximately $245,000. The comparison lists reported at least these othersuperintendent salaries:
o
 
Plymouth-Canton, $231,000 (4
th
largest state district)
o
 
Farmington Schools, $207,000 (16
th
largest)
o
 
Walled Lake Schools, $206,000 (9
th
largest)
o
 
Rochester Community Schools, $190,000 (11
th
largest)
o
 
Dearborn Schools, $175,000 (5
th
largest)
o
 
Livonia Schools, $150,000 (6
th
largest)At least 45 applications for the AAPS superintendent position were received by theJanuary 27, 2011 deadline. Ray and Associated presented a finalist list to the AAPSBoard in a closed session on February 9
th
:
o
 
William DeFrance, superintendent of Eaton Rapids Public Schools in Michigan;

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