Making a good match for Lincoln

Identifying the characteristics that make a good superintendent

Craig Wilford, Field Services Specialist with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), was on hand in Lincoln Monday April 1 to aid with the processes in hiring a new USD 298 Superintendent that best matches the community.

“This process is designed to engage members of the community, to provide input to the board, but it also helps me as an individual who is screening candidates to look for characteristics that match the community’s desires,” Wilford said.

Wilford said that KASB has already received some applications for the Lincoln Superintendent opening, and the last day to apply will be April 11. The opening is listed on the kasb.org website, along with a flyer with a little more information about Lincoln schools. See the infographic below for a few stats from the flyer.

Throughout the day, Wilford met with members of several interest groups, including the general community, site councils, office staff, principals, and teachers to identify characteristics that are desired in a new Superintendent for Lincoln schools. He facilitated group conversations, through a set of four questions, to identify leadership and personal qualities of a superintendent, strengths of the district, critical needs of the district, and lastly, a single characteristic that might set one candidate apart from the rest.

The various group responses were collected, and over 60 responses were tallied into a final report for the Board of Education to consider going forward in these processes. Wilford presented the findings from the question and answer sessions in open session during the regular monthly Board of Education meeting the same night.

A few of the characteristics named included family values, relational/communication skills, proactive/decisive, integrity, community-minded. Some of the strengths of the district mentioned included reputation, community/parent support, financial support, facility improvements and small class sizes. Some of the needs of the district mentioned included concerns regarding finances, community understanding, consolidation and student participation in activities. One of the most mentioned characteristics to set a candidate above the rest was family.

Wilford explained he will be back April 16 to make recommendations to the board, once all the applications have been received. The Board is tasked with crafting a syllabus of 21 questions for interview purposes between now and then. Interviews will be conducted in executive sessions.

During the community meeting, Wilford opened the floor to questions. The group asked Wilford about typical longevity for a Superintendent (5-7 years), whether USD 298’s salary was competitive (yes for comparable size districts), and whether a Superintendent is expected to come in with a plan (typically the school board sets the long-range goals and planning).

Wilford said one of the things that KASB can do to help ease the transition is come back and sit down with the board and talk about roles, and what the board would like to see over the next 18 months.

The board is expected to begin interviews with the identified candidates for the Superintendent position in mid-April, with the goal of completing the hiring process by the end of April. The new Superintendent would start on July 1, 2019, with the new fiscal year.

Lincoln Sentinel-Republican

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Lincoln, KS 67455
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