Consultants elaborate on superintendent hiring process

NEW ULM – The District 88 Board of Education met with consultants from the South Central Service Co-op (SCSC) Tuesday night, to discuss the specifics of a search for a new superintendent.

Superintendent Harold Remme is retiring at the end of this school year, and a SCSC team led by Ed Waltman, a retired long-term Mankato superintendent, has been asked to handle the search for a replacement. The service is being provided free of charge, because New Ulm is a member of the SCSC co-op.

Waltman explained the recruitment process. Some key stages in the process include:

The consultants will meet with the school board, staff, parents, community members and students to create a profile for the new superintendent. This phase will include surveying stake-holders about strengths of, and challenges facing, the district, what needs to be done to improve the academic achievement of students and the operation of the district over the next few years, and what skills and abilities the new superintendent must possess, explained Waltman. The consultants will present a profile report to the board.

The consultants will also recruit candidates and receive and process applications. They will screen the candidates, reducing the list to about six semi-finalists, and help conduct the first round of interviews.

The semi-finalists will be interviewed by two sets of interviewers, the school board plus a community interview team of teachers chosen by their union and administrators and community members chosen by the board. The community team will provide feedback to the board but will not rate the candidates. The rating is a prerogative of the board.

The board will then discuss the outcome of this phase and cut the list down to about three finalists; the finalists will participate in the last round of interviews.

The consultants would also provide mentoring to the new superintendent if necessary.

The superintendent pool in Minnesota is limited, with almost two dozen searches currently under way, Waltman stressed.

“It’s not a buyer’s market,” he stressed, adding that it is not unusual for districts to hire new superintendents at significantly higher salaries than existing administrators.

He also observed that Remme has voluntarily worked under several years of salary freeze.

Waltman urged the board to determine a salary and benefits range it would be comfortable with, in advance, to help the sifting process along.

To help the board determine what a new superintendent’s package should include, Waltman shared superintendent compensation information for other schools (schools in the South Central Conference, see table).

Differing somewhat in expectations, the board members present appeared to lean toward a salary range of $120,000 to $127,000 and a new contract that would include family medical coverage but a smaller 403B match than Remme’s and no car allowance.

The goal is to determine an offer by the end of March and approve a contract in the first half of April.

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