Cedar Rapids School Board considers consulting firms to seek superintendents

Superintendent Noreen Bush to step down June 30, 2023

Cedar Rapids School Board considers consulting firms to seek superintendents

The Cedar Rapids Community School District Educational Leadership Support Center, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Cedar Rapids. (The Gazette)

Noreen Bush, Superintendent of Cedar Rapids (Cedar Rapids Community School District)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The next superintendent for the Cedar Rapids Community School District could be chosen by January, depending on timelines presented by consulting firms the school board is considering to conduct a search for candidates.

The school board heard from three consulting firms seeking superintendents on Monday. The Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on October 17 to discuss and identify the company it will select to conduct the research.

Companies presenting were Ray & Associates Inc., based in Cedar Rapids; Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, based in Illinois; and GR Recruiting, based in Arizona. Each company had 15 minutes to make a presentation to the board.

Each company offered similar recruitment methods. The search begins with the chosen company interviewing school board members separately and as advice to create a profile for an ideal candidate. District staff and community stakeholders will also be interviewed to build a profile of the type of leader Cedar Rapids schools seek.

The school board will then receive a list of the best candidates and will have the opportunity to interview them. Final applicants will have employment background checks performed by the consulting firm.

Consultancy firms highlighted their commitment to placing and supporting superintendent candidates from diverse backgrounds.

The next superintendent “probably won’t even know they’re going to be a candidate,” said Gary Ray, president and CEO of GR Recruiting. “Your good candidates do the work where they are. We recruit aggressively and provide you with a very diverse pool of candidates.

Ray & Associates fee is $20,000 with additional expenses not to exceed $1,500 to advertise the vacancy. Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates’ fees are $27,500. GR Recruiting’s fee is $21,500, which includes advertising costs.

“Our goal is to make the decision very difficult for you, whether it’s someone here or someone from South Carolina. Our goal is to find the right person,” said Kathy Schoenfelder, vice president of Ray & Associates.

Superintendent Bush resigns

Last month, the school board accepted Superintendent Noreen Bush’s resignation effective June 30.

Bush, 51, took sick leave in September and will remain superintendent this school year. She was diagnosed with cancer about two and a half years ago.

Serving as superintendent of schools in Cedar Rapids “has been the greatest professional honor of my life,” Bush said in his resignation letter.

“On a personal note, you have been a great source of strength and hope for me during my cancer journey,” Bush wrote to the board. “My husband, our two sons and I all want to thank you for this support.”

“This may be the most difficult letter I have ever had to write,” Bush wrote. “I really love our district, which is why I believe that for my health and for the good of the council and the CRCSD, this is the best way forward.”

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