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Spring is prime time for superintendent searches

Kentucky School Advocate
April 2021

By Don MartinKSBA Superintendent Search Field Consultant
In the first three months of 2021, KSBA’s Superintendent Search service has partnered with seven boards across the Commonwealth to facilitate the search and selection of their next superintendents. With retirements and contract negotiations, spring often brings with it a spike in vacancies.

With how many superintendent searches has KSBA been involved?

In the two decades that our Superintendent Search service has existed, KSBA has assisted districts with more than 300 placements. Our team is very proud of that number. It tells us that we must be doing something right to have been entrusted with so many opportunities to work with school boards in the search, vetting and hiring of their top administrators.  

How does KSBA’s Superintendent Search service differ from other search/consultancy services?

Of the decisions local school board members are elected to make, the hiring of an effective superintendent is the most important (and often the most difficult). There are two major factors that differentiate KSBA from other search services.

1. KSBA is the only professional association that serves Kentucky’s local school board members – individuals statutorily charged with making the hire. When we are involved, the search is conducted with a consistent focus on the board’s perspective. That is very important, because it allows us to develop a customized process to fit a district’s needs within the framework of the board’s approval. The school board is accountable to the community when it hires a superintendent, and in turn we are accountable to the school board.

2. An important advantage of using KSBA is that we view the process as a long-term relationship with the association, not just an event. Long after your superintendent is hired and our contracted consultation is complete, KSBA, as your professional organization, will be there working with your board team; offering best practices, ongoing training for superintendent evaluation (as required by law) and everything else included in the value of KSBA membership. Think of it as 24/7 roadside service.  

When KSBA is involved, what does the superintendent search typically entail?  

Individuals who have not previously been part of a superintendent search may be surprised as to just how complex the process can be, start to finish. From the establishment of a screening committee to the interviews, and from the advertising of the position to the special legal considerations, there are numerous facets to a successful search – all of which we are there to facilitate. Generally speaking, our search can be broken down into five phases:

  1. Search plan development
  2. Advertisement and recruitment
  3. Screening Committee work
  4. Board interviews
  5. Appointment process

What is one thing KSBA members should know about the association’s Superintendent Search service?  

I cannot say enough about the quality of the service, and that is due in large part to the fact that KSBA has personnel dedicated to superintendent searches. It’s not one of the things we do. It is everything we do! But to quote Lavar Burton from Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it.” Just talk to the districts with whom we have partnered.

For more information on KSBA’s Superintendent Search service, current searches, frequently asked questions and more, visit ksba.org/supersearch.aspx.

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