Steamboat Springs Provided contract negotiations go smoothly, Ray and Associates Inc., will lead the Steamboat Springs School Board's search for a new superintendent.
The board's decision came Monday night after presentations from William Newman, executive director of Ray and Associates, and representatives of two other national search firms.
Superintendent Cyndy Simms said she contacted Newman on Tuesday morning to inform him of the board's decision.
"He was very pleased to be selected," Simms said.
The board scheduled a Thursday morning meeting to formally appoint Ray and Associates and take action on a contract with the firm. According to a proposal from the search firm, its services will cost the district $14,000, not including expenses. The figure was less than those of the two other firms interviewed by the board Monday.
Ray and Associates' interest in involving teachers and community in the search process was the main reason the board went with the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company, Simms said.
Following contract approval, the board and Newman will quickly begin the process of finding a new superintendent, Simms said.
"I assume you've got to get this in the fast track and get moving," Newman told the board Monday night.
Simms' resignation is effective July 1, and the board has said it wants to find a replacement in a timely manner without jeopardizing the quality of job candidates.
Newman said he couldn't guarantee the best candidate for the job could be in place by July 1.
"Is it possible? Yes. Would it be our goal? Yes. In reality, would you want to eliminate qualified people because they couldn't be here by July 1? I wouldn't think so," Newman said Monday. "We really want success for whoever you would select as a result of our work."
Among the search process steps Newman identified in his Monday presentation to the board are a community forum, stakeholder surveys that identify desired superintendent traits, developing a feasible timeline with the board, advertising the position, recruiting for the position, comprehensive background checks and determination of semi-finalists.
The firm will also set up interview times for job finalists, among other duties, Newman said.
Ray and Associates has 80 representatives stationed across the country, all of whom will know about this search, Newman said. Conducting a national search is key to finding the best candidate, he said.
"You don't know where that best candidate will be," Newman said. "People have to be recruited from the jobs where they're (currently) at. We talk to people who already have a good job because that's probably who you want --not a want-ad reader."
The firm has a 2-year guarantee. It will provide a new search -- charging the district only for expenses -- if the new superintendent leaves the district for any reason within his or her first two years.
Ray and Associates was the unanimous choice among the board's three members present Monday.
"I was very impressed with Ray and Associates," board member Paula Stephenson said prior to the board's decision.
Steamboat Springs Education Association President Mike Smith, who last week urged the board to include the community and district stakeholder in the search process, also supported hiring Ray and Associates.
Smith said he was pleased with Newman's presentation, specifically the firm's willingness to share the search process with stakeholders while maintaining the confidentiality of job finalists.
"The feeling from the teachers I've talked to is that we need more, not less, representation," Smith said.
Newman will come to Steamboat in late April to participate with the National School Public Relations Association communications audit, Simms said. It is expected Newman will sit-in on some of the focus groups.
"That will give him some good insight into where the issues are for our district," Simms said.