MASB to consult in search process

HANCOCK – Following its regular meeting Tuesday, the Copper Country Intermediate School District Board of Education met with representatives of the Michigan Association of School Boards in a videoconference to discuss the search process for a new superintendent. The board had accepted current Superintendent Dennis Harbour’s resignation during their meeting.

After voting to retain MASB in an advisory capacity during a special meeting earlier this month, the board met with Kathy Hayes, executive director, and Donna Oser, director of executive search services, to establish a timeline and clarify the roles of MASB and the board in the search process.

“I always tell boards in the span of a search it’s really a lot of work for you on the front end as we begin to get the details together and a lot of work on the tail end,” Oser said.

Hayes commended the board on its decision to take an active role in the process, which she said is time-consuming for board members but very important to the CCISD.

“It’s been a long time since as a board member I had to go through this process. This is a lot of work,” Hayes said. “I forgot about how much work this is but when you think about how important this decision is, it’s a time when the board really has to sacrifice some free time and really make sure they make the best decision here.

So once again, filling this position, especially after having an excellent leader in Dennis it’s so crucial to take the time to do this.”

During the videoconference, Oser presented a Powerpoint looking at the division of responsibility between MASB, the board and the districts during each phase of the search process, including preparation, recruitment, interviewing and decision-making.

During that presentation board members were encouraged to ask questions and clarify any points of concern. Oser encouraged the board to move quickly with a preliminary posting, including a salary range, and to begin crafting a detailed candidate profile.

“There are plenty of superintendent positions open out there this year,” Oser said. “MASA reported that there had been 44 retirements – I actually think it’s more than that – and so what that creates in an already shallow candidate pool, candidates are really picking and choosing what positions they’re applying for. So I think it’s really important to include a salary range when you put a preliminary posting out there so they can only declare their intention if they’re serious about coming to work for Copper Country.”

They also discussed the importance of stakeholder feedback at different points throughout the conference. Although stakeholders obviously include the superintendents and principals of the CCISD’s 13 school districts as well as CCISD staff, both the board and MASB felt obtaining more input from the community, including parents, universities, local governments and businesses, is also important. Oser mentioned both face-to-face input sessions and online surveys that can be used to obtain stakeholder feedback during each phase of the process.

“That’s powerful feedback,” she said. “I’ve seen how it’s used and it really does make a difference There’s really lots of opportunity for your stakeholders to be engaged.”

The board will videoconference with MASB again in February, during which time they will work on a candidate profile. They plan to release a preliminary posting of the position before that meeting.