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Clarke schools to work with superintendent search firm

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:46 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:48 a.m. CDT

Clarke Community School Board passed a motion to use search firm McPherson and Jacobson for only certain aspects of the superintendent search during a board workshop March 17.

Clarke Community Schools Superintendent Benita Gonzales turned in her resignation at a regularly scheduled school board meeting Feb. 24, which was then approved by board members.

Gonzales’ last day is June 30.

Workshop

During the workshop, board members discussed which facets of the superintendent search they wanted to conduct themselves, and which they wanted McPherson and Jacobson to conduct.

“They brought us, like, sample questions, told us legal and illegal questions, helped with the groups that way (during the last search),” said Ruth White, Clarke’s board secretary.

It was decided McPherson and Jacobson would conduct background and reference checks on the applicants, while board members will direct the rest of the search.

“I don’t think we need them (McPherson and Jacobson) as in-depth as we did before,” said Clarke Community School board member Kelly Bailey. “We just did it. I think we learned a lot from them. I don’t feel like we need them here each and every step like last time.”

Another big change for applicants is less groups to conduct interviews.

“We had a variety of groups at that time, and I’ve heard some comments back about that, too,” said Clarke Community School Board President Gerard Linskens. “Basically, seven groups interviewing the superintendent candidates.”

The seven groups were made up of different group aspects of the community, such as teachers, students and community members.

Now, the seven groups are three: community, made up of community members; school, consisting of teachers, administration and students; and board members.

The board also decided the tentative interview week will be April 7 to 11, followed by a regularly scheduled April 14 board meeting. April 15 will consist of discussion with a group spokesperson and a possible superintendent selection.

The board paid for the search firm’s services last year, and that contract lasts two years.

Year

Clarke Community Schools has a two-year contract with McPherson and Jacobson, which was paid for during the previous superintendent search.

The former superintendent of Sigourney and Tri-County Community school districts, Gonzales was hired as Clarke Community Schools superintendent starting July 1, 2013.

Her one-year contract included a salary of $130,000, 30 days of sick leave from Clarke and Gonzales’ former school districts, 20 vacation days and $5,000 toward moving expenses.

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