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School Board Approves Superintendent Search Firm

District will spend $31,000 to find replacement for Dan O'Donnell.

After a four-and-a-half closed session Monday night, the school board unanimously approved the hiring of Ray and Associates Inc. to conduct the search for a new superintendent.

Though the majority of the session was used to discuss other matters, representatives from the Cedar Rapids-based firm appeared before the board behind closed doors to discuss the search, which will cost the district a total of about $31,000.

Board President Bill Walsh said Tuesday morning that the firm will begin working immediately to help find a replacement for who will leave the district at the end of June. The next step in the process will be individual meetings between board members and the firm to discuss what they want in a new leader.

When asked why a private firm was selected for the search instead of the Illinois Association of School Boards, which is currently helping fill two open assistant superintendent positions, Walsh said the board felt Ray and Associates more closely matched the district’s needs.

“We felt that using this type of firm for this important of a position made the most sense,” Walsh said.  “Although there is more of an investment with Ray and Associates, their capabilities were more in line with our needs to fill this role.”

by the board last week. President Gary Ray told the board he would conduct the search himself and touted his firm's 37 years of experience in the field. The firm was also the only one to offer a two-year guarantee on whomever should replace O’Donnell.

Ray will employee an online community survey early in the process to gauge what members of the community need and want in the next superintendent. Walsh said he isn’t sure when that process will begin, but a timeline of community input opportunities will be determined soon. 

Reality March 21, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Which district employees are you claiming should do the hiring? Hopefully not the Superintendent or any of the 3 Asst. Superintendents since all of them are gone after this school year (Patch facebook reported that Asst. Super. of Finance and Business Tim Neubauer has submitted his letter of resignation). Do you really think the Board would agree with the candidates selected by the district employees? They don't seem to see eye to eye based on the mass exit of district admin.
ayar March 21, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Can they just do some promoting from within ? A lot of current Principals in the District have benefitted from this policy, including Mr. Colvin, former OHS principal as well as former Thompson Jr High principal, and a host of former assistant principals who are now principals. There are many teachers in the District who have obtained their type 75 endorsement some time back. Offer them the "starting pay" of the position since it's a promotion. You figure (1) They know the District, (2) It continues the policy of rewarding those who stay and earn it, encouraging "quality leadership" to stick around, and (3) you don't have to pay consultant a hefty chunk of change that can be used to hire an educator [teacher].
LLT Group March 22, 2012 at 06:27 PM
We have a lot talent with Oswego 308, and no one who understands this community other than the administration who reside, work, and are part of the whole educational experience. I believe that we fill our administration within our district and find other creative ways to implement outsourced hiring for other positions. We need a organic growth within 308 and this only comes from the facets within our own system.
ayar March 22, 2012 at 08:14 PM
who would want to outsource ? that's the biggest problem in the State to date. let's "insource" instead. Goes with that "highly experienced first year" oxymoron I've heard in places - I'll bet George Carlin would have had a field day with that statement - goes with "jumbo shrimp" :)
Jane Enviere March 22, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I would think that any interested candidates from within the district are welcome to apply.

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