Committee selects firm to help ID next leader for Wake schools

Posted June 8, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— The superintendent search committee of the Wake County Board of Education has named a search firm to help identify the next leader for the school district.

The committee voted late Monday to recommend that the board hire Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm based in Chicago. The decision to hire the firm, at an estimated $82,500 plus expenses, will go before the whole board next Tuesday.

Debra Goldman, vice-chairwoman of the school board, leads the committee of four charged with finding outgoing Superintendent Del Burns' replacement.

Burns announced in February his decision to resign June 30, and he was later placed on administrative leave after he publicly accused some board members of "political partisan gamesmanship" when it comes to educating students.

Donna Hargens, the system's chief academic officer, is serving as interim superintendent.

Chris Malone, Carolyn Morrison and Deborah Prickett are the other members of the search committee.

The state Department of Public Instruction sets minimum requirements for superintendents.

Candidates must have a valid standard professional license, have worked a minimum of one year (or the equivalent) as a principal, have a graduate degree in school administration and meet required scores on the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Assessment test.

As an alternative, candidates can have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and five years leadership or managerial experience considered relevant by the local board of education.


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  • Wray Jun 15, 2010

    Wanted: Sycophant. Yes man. Candidates must be able to bite their tongues until they bleed and have no opinions to offer the Board. Salary commensurate with experience. Re-located Yankees preferred. Diversity of educational background will not be considered.

  • kevboom Jun 15, 2010

    There's really no reason a FREE search committee could not be formed made up of interested stakeholders in the school system (i.e., teachers, community members/parents, business representatives), to be chaired by an administrator or two with the county school system. This seems like total laziness to me on the part of the county school administration who would apparently rather hire work done than do anything constructive themselves. Contrary to this committee's decision, Raleigh does have some educated people who can vet candidates and make an informed decision. I believe Raleigh was recently ranked #2 behind San Francisco in the number of adults with college degrees. Just sayin'...

  • we_all_have_it_coming Jun 8, 2010

    Funny... how you guys gripe and moan about high taxes and waste - and here is another example of that.

    Is it not the responsibility of management to screen/hire/fire their staff? Or are you suggesting that some people are more special than others and should be hand selected by folks who have no dog in the fight?

    If the state cannot hire it's own staff then we have a problem. And who will this person report to? - that's who should do the hiring.

    Or are we going to hire a firm to fire him/her as well if he/she sucks?

  • 1 of the original Americans Jun 8, 2010

    School system staff should not have the responsibility of searching for and screening their new boss.

    well really does it matter who they hire... they will not accomplish anything that the board does not want done.

    Wanted: Full time drone to be used as a scapegoat if all fails

  • Ken D. Jun 8, 2010

    I bet the Republican Party would have done this for free.

  • wheelercb59 Jun 8, 2010

    maybe purdue can help, o i forgot shes too busy

  • mindofreason Jun 8, 2010

    I have little issue with the outside hiring of a firm, and more with the almost 100k it is going to cost the system (82.5 + expenses). I am sure they could have found a qualified firm for less money, and I know that because having worked at a firm which just conducted a national search for a leadership position and cost us 25k+expenses. Just my thoughts...

  • i4musicalarts Jun 8, 2010

    "Congrats, Wake County, for finding another way to cheat and rip off the public."

    The public stands a much better chance of being cheated & ripped off WITHOUT an executive search firm. An elected board does not have the expertise nor should it have the time to sift through dozens of executive portfolios, answer questions from candidates, and conduct the hours of background checks and references required to hire this level of leadership. School system staff should not have the responsibility of searching for and screening their new boss.

  • cbarnes855 Jun 8, 2010

    Why do the hire an outside firm... isn't this the commitee's job?

  • FitnessMan Jun 8, 2010

    That's 2 teachers they could keep right there.