Search begins for next Decatur ISD superintendent

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, April 15, 2017
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The Decatur School Board has set the qualifications/characteristics for the district’s next superintendent and set a timeline for the search.

The board met Wednesday to discuss those items with consultants with the Texas Association of School Board Executive Search Services.

Board president Jeff Alling said the board came up with 10 qualifications and characteristics for the ideal candidate to serve as DISD’s next superintendent, and those items were posted on the TASB website Thursday.

Those qualifications and characteristics include:

  • Demonstrates superior interpersonal skills and can make and defend difficult decisions that are best for students and the district
  • Is a visionary leader with the ability to build consensus in support of the educational programs and the use of the district’s facilities, finances, resources and personnel effectively
  • An experienced teacher, campus administrator, assistant superintendent and/or superintendent who can provide direction to the district through a collaborative planning process
  • “People” person who communicates effectively
  • Able to work in partnership with the board of trustees and build a climate of candor, mutual trust and cooperation
  • Is an effective delegator who empowers staff members to carry out their responsibilities independently while remaining knowledgeable and accountable to the school board for the district’s overall progress in carrying out its mission
  • Is a motivational leader who is attentive to staff morale and has a proven ability in building an effective management team engaged in collaborative planning, problem solving, and decision making
  • Lives in the district and is actively engaged at school and community functions and is committed to the long-term success of both
  • Possesses high moral and ethical characteristics
  • Demonstrates capability in leading a growing district

The job listing also includes a description of the community and what it can offer the ideal candidate: “Close enough to the big city to catch all the thrills of professional sports, elegant dining, shopping, plays, musicals and even amusement parks … yet far enough away to be able to return home to the peace and quiet of a small town neighborhood filled with children’s laughter, little league baseball games and backyard barbecues.”

Since the job was posted on March 28, Alling said more than 60 people have applied for the position, including 21 who are either current superintendents or have superintendent experience.

Two new members will join the school board following the May 6 election – Alling and fellow board member Jim Lamirand are not seeking re-election – and Alling said the board initially thought about waiting until the new board was seated before beginning the search process. However, they realized the delay could hurt the search.

“That would push the search back a month, and we could lose candidates that might decide to go somewhere else,” Alling said.

TASB will take applications until April 27. Alling said board members will then have a formal review of the applicants May 3 to narrow down the list of candidates.

First round interviews will take place May 22, 23 and 24. The second round of interviews is scheduled for June 5, 6 and 7. The board is expected to name the lone finalist June 13. Because state law requires that a school district announce any finalists for a superintendent position at least 21 days before a board can take final action, the school board is expected to vote to hire the new superintendent July 6.

Current Superintendent Rod Townsend announced in February that he will retire in August. He has been superintendent at Decatur since 2010.

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