Superintendent Searches Continue

/ 27 January 2016 / Shawna

The selection of a Superintendent is an interesting process to watch. The process itself forces the public and board members to confront the fundamental purpose of a Board of Education. Though we elect board members, their position calls for a different type of representation than legislators. Legislators are elected to represent the needs of their district in lawmaking at the state level. School board members are elected to work together as a “committee of the whole” to evaluate the work of a Superintendent and what is best for their district schools. Their job is to critically analyze his/her decision making. Therefore, the election of a Superintendent is perhaps the most critical role we elect our board members to perform on our behalf. The public elects a school board to govern in their stead.

How the public is or is not involved further is an interesting question. Peter Cox’s MPRNews article on January 27, 2016 highlights a great example: making early interviews public scared away candidates from what is already a very small national pool of superintendents. Generally speaking, most of us would not want a new, potential employer to print it in the paper that we are interviewing for an extremely competitive job with them, right? Jennifer Arneson is asking for the public to allow the board to interview candidates on behalf of the public in a private process. Finalists would be announced to the public, in the same manner Pine River-Backus conducted their search. Josh Reimnetz then balances that with a suggestion of how to later involve the public in interviews. Though selecting a superintendent is a job we elected board members to do on our behalf, he is searching for a way to earn the public’s trust by involving them. It will be interesting to see what process the Minneapolis Board of Education decides to choose, and the public’s response.