The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board met in a special session Monday night to select an executive search service and review applications from half a dozen applicants for the interim superintendent position.
After hearing video conference presentations from three consultants, the board decided to contract with the Minnesota School Boards Association to help them find a new district superintendent. As several board members have said, ACGC has worked with MSBA, a statewide school board advocacy group, in previous research, and recently completed a strategic plan with their consultant. Several board members expressed satisfaction with past service. The cost of a full set of MSBA research services is $ 7,600.
Nonetheless, the board was intrigued by offers from companies that weren’t selected. One company, SchoolIQ, was competitive on price and was made up of former principals and sales agents. A smaller consulting firm seemed to have a more in-depth monitoring and community input process, but the price for its level of service was considerably higher; he also seems to have less experience with school executives.
School IQ is a subsidiary of the consultancy firm SiteLogiq which recently hired the current district superintendent, Nels Onstad, to assist in the consultation on the development of school facilities.
“Sitelogiq is an organization that works with installation projects, mainly for schools,” Onstad explained. “Its Minnesota head office is in White Bear Lake. “
After leaving ACGC at the end of October, Onstad plans to work remotely for SiteLogiq and also spend time on the road as a liaison between the company and the districts it serves.
Board members expressed hope that a new superintendent could be in place by the end of the current school year. In the meantime, they plan to appoint an interim superintendent.
The board reviewed the applications for the appointment of an interim superintendent. School officials noted that the applicants (identified by number, not name) fell into three categories:
- a retired superintendent who wishes to work part-time until a new superintendent is found;
- principals and principals with no experience as superintendents who wish to gain experience by taking on an acting position (a few seem interested in applying for the permanent position as well); and
- an experienced superintendent who would like to share the superintendent’s position with another district.
Board members and building managers discussed what is needed in an acting position to complete the school year. The consensus was against an inexperienced person trying to take on the role of keeping the district afloat and moving forward.
“Someone familiar with the neighborhood would be much more preferable, even part-time,” said Robin Wall, principal of the college / high school. Several board members agreed.
While no final decision has been made on an interim, board chair Megan Morrison asked the bargaining committee to meet with an experienced candidate who knows the district to determine potential terms of service. If a consensus can be reached, Morrison expressed hope that the committee could make a recommendation to the board regarding an acting appointment at the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 25.
School principals announced that receptions would be held in both school buildings to bid farewell to Onstad. The Grove City event will take place on October 27 at 7:20 am; the Atwater event will take place at 7:30 a.m. on October 28.