Q. What is the timeline of the search?
A. The timeline has been approved by the Board of Education and highlights are shown below:
May 6 -- Board to finalize superintendent profile for the promotional materials and application form.
May 9 -- Mail promotional material and application form to candidates who have inquired and to those who were recruited.
May 29 -- Deadline for all application materials.
June 12 -- Consultant presents semifinalists to the board and assists the board in selecting finalists for interviews.
Week of June 16 -- Interview candidates.
Week of June 23 -- On-site visit of leading candidates by board team. Consultant will discuss contract terms with the finalist. Offer the contract. Press release of new superintendent.
Q. Will the names of candidates be released at any point or will that information be confidential? If it will be confidential, why?
A. Most candidates who already have good positions will not submit to public exposure unless they are down to the final two, or so. In the best interest of the district, we advise to take whatever steps in this regard to prevent excellent candidates from withdrawing. The board has indicated that it is very interested in gaining input from the community through representation.
At some point all bets are off in terms of confidentiality because we do such intensive background investigations, often interviewing people not identified as references by the candidates. Top candidates, however, trust our firm and know that we will not do anything to knowingly disrupt their relationships in their current position. Amateurs who take it upon themselves to inquire into a candidate's background (once names are revealed) may well cause the candidate to have serious second thoughts about the position.
Q. Current Superintendent Cyndy Simms has a salary of about $104,000, though it reaches as high as $115,000 through a tax shelter. What do you think the Steamboat Springs School District will need to pay her replacement in order to attract and retain the best candidates?
A. Seldom does the incoming superintendent get hired at less or even the same salary as the departing superintendent. In fact, the longer a superintendent stays at a particular district, the poorer his/her salary will compare with the market. To attract good candidates to Steamboat Springs, the District can expect to pay in the range of $125,000.
Q. Is it realistic to expect a new superintendent to be in place by July 1, 2003? If not, why?
A. Our target is for selection during the week of June 23rd. Actual placement depends primarily upon the selectee's availability. We are in agreement with the board to let quality, not the calendar, be the prime determinant.
Q. You attended many of the National School Public Relations Association focus groups held two weeks ago in Steamboat Springs. You asked many of the focus group participants to fill out a survey identifying what respondents believed were the top characteristics for a superintendent to possess. What characteristics were deemed most important by respondents?
A. We have filed a report with the board reporting the results of our survey efforts. The most commonly chosen characteristics are identified in that report and subsequently listed in the promotional flyer for the position.
It is a tribute to this board that the members chose to have input from the groups that met with the NSPRA representative, and fortuitous that the Communications Audit was already in place to allow for the input process.
Q. Are there any Steamboat Springs School District employees qualified for the superintendent position? If so, are any being considered by Ray and Associates?
A. It is unknown at this time if there will be any internal candidates for the position. We encourage anyone who feels qualified to apply, and we will consider all applications on their merit.
Q. Many reports indicate a nationwide shortage of superintendents. Has Ray and Associates found that to be true? How many applications does Ray and Associates expect to receive?
A. There is a shortage of quality candidates for superintendent positions across the nation. Still, we expect to receive a significant pool from which to screen down to those to present to the board. We are quite objective in our work, never carrying an initial or pre-supposed "short list." Our client is the district -- we are not a placement service. Our average this year is running about midforties or a little higher for finished files, but that includes searches that commenced much earlier and are now completed.
Q. What are the key draws of the Steamboat Springs School District for superintendent candidates? What are possible drawbacks?
A. We believe that the attractions for candidates to Steamboat Springs will be the district's reputation and location. The only noted drawback at this point is the cost of housing.