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District takes input on superintendent search

District 196 residents got a chance this week to voice their opinion on what they are looking for as School District 196 searches for a new superintendent to replace the retiring John Currie.

And what board members, and search consultant Ken La Croix, discovered was they have a strong read on the community's wishes.

Entering the search process, La Croix and the school board outlined 12 qualities they are looking for in a new superintendent. During community meetings on Monday and Tuesday, residents echoed those 12 considerations.

"They reiterated a lot of those things and we wanted them to tell us what they feel were the most important qualities," said Rosemount resident Jackie Magnuson, the board vice chairperson. "There were also some things, other qualities, that came out and maybe it was just a different way to put them."

Aside from the community and staff meetings held this week, the school district is also currently holding an online poll on the school district web site. As of Tuesday, the poll had drawn over 300 responses. The poll will remain active until March 23.

"We heard a lot of things confirming those qualities the board was looking for," district communications director Tony Taschner said. "We also heard from staff and the community as well that they like the atmosphere that John Currie has developed in the district. John will be the first person to tell you that this was a great district before he got here, and it will continue to be a great district. What's coming through is a desire to have a superintendent who has experience leading an organization."

Magnuson and the board members in attendance also heard a few new suggestions, though.

"I think those that were there were very concerned and it showed they had spent some time thinking about it," Magnuson said. "They talked about the changes in the district, including the diversity changes. Others want to make sure we are meeting the needs of all the students in the district including the gifted and talented, and special education students. They want to make sure we get someone that is well versed in all of those kinds of areas."

Loyalty was also a key subject. Community members want a long-term solution.

"I think people are really concerned and are making sure we have someone that lives here, has ties here, or who really wants to stay here and really make their mark on the district," Magnuson said. "They are very concerned about a quick turnaround. They don't want to see someone come here and be gone in three years. They want someone that has a vested interest in the community and is invested in the district, someone that can see the big picture."

The application period opened March 1 and runs through April 6. On April 8, La Croix and the school board will begin to filter through the applications. The board is expected to select the finalists to interview on April 13.

The application brochure mentions a pay range between $184,00 and $194,000.