Headhunting: JPS Board picks traits for new leader as search begins for superintendentThe Jamestown Public School Board has officially started the search for a new superintendent, and has selected qualities desired for the next person to lead the district.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Public School Board has officially started the search for a new superintendent, and has selected qualities desired for the next person to lead the district.
At a special meeting on Wednesday, Jon Martinson, executive director for the North Dakota School Boards Association, helped the board get started on finding a replacement. Martinson will work with the board throughout the entire process.
The new hire will replace current Superintendent Bob Toso, who is retiring after 12 years in the district as an administrator.
“What are the skills and qualities and characteristics of a superintendent that would be a good fit here in Jamestown?” Martinson asked the board.
Every member of the School Board and Sally Ost, business manager, jotted down the qualities they wanted in a superintendent.
Martinson then went around the room and added those qualities to a list. Everyone then was asked to rank the top five qualities from which the top traits were derived.
In total 45 different traits were brought up.
“You’re not going to find somebody that has all of these, so let’s find someone that has the ones most important to the board,” Martinson said.
The top five traits the School Board chose are:
* a vision for the district with strategic planning for the big picture.
* good communication skills.
* focused on student achievement.
* a strong definition on the philosophy of leadership.
* a creative desire for excellence.
Martinson will put those qualities on an invitation to apply for the position of superintendent for Jamestown Public Schools.
“I want to ask candidates for their philosophy on leadership and have them explain leadership,” said Terry Anderson, board member.
Diane Hanson said she wanted to see a superintendent that allows more district shareholders the opportunity to become involved.
“In general our district seems to hold onto things and I’d like to see someone who enjoys delegating and is good at it,” she said.
Martinson said the district could receive up to 20 applicants for the job.
“I’m guessing you’re going to get quite a few applicants,” he said. “Jamestown is a great superintendency.”
Martinson’s services will cost the district $6,000 plus expenses. The decision on who to hire will ultimately rest with the School Board.
At the special meeting the board also decided on a time table for the hiring process.
The position opening will be advertised as soon as possible in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and possibly Iowa and Nebraska.
“It takes a little time to get the word out,” Martinson said. “I can tell you in North Dakota it spreads in a day, it’s amazing. But of course you want to search in other areas.”
For the national search the board unanimously agreed to advertise with the American Association of School Administrators.
In the other regional states, Martinson will contact education associations and inquire about advertising in their publications.
There will also be a brochure for applicants. The board will consider hiring an advertising agency for the work.
Martinson will conduct meetings with administrators, support staff, students, teachers and community members on Nov. 1. He said he will find out what those groups feel about Jamestown and what they want in a superintendent. Those results will be presented to the School Board on Nov. 13.
On Dec. 15 the window to apply for the position will be closed. On Jan. 7 the board will review the candidates and Martinson will give his input and who he feels is a good selection.
Interviews with candidates will be completed from Jan. 15 to Feb. 9. The announcement of the new superintendent will be made on or before Feb. 15. The new superintendent will start in July 1.
“This is going to be a great job for somebody,” Anderson said. “We’re striving for excellence.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org