Education

School board OKs search firm, revises qualifications for superintendent

Posted June 15, 2010
Updated June 16, 2010

Wake County Public School System
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— After debate over how much money should be spent to find the next leader of the state's largest school district, the Wake County Board of Education approved a recommendation that a Chicago-based firm should conduct the search.

Board members voted 5-4 in favor of the hire of Heidrick & Struggles at an estimated cost of $82,500 to find a replacement for outgoing superintendent Del Burns. The group was among a number of options the board's Superintendent Search Committee considered for the job.

Heidrick & Struggles initially bid $110,000 for the search but later renegotiated. The school system will also pay expenses related to the search as part of the contract.

School board member Carolyn Morrison objected to hiring Heidrick, saying the committee ignored a more prudent bid from the North Carolina School Board Association, which would have saved $75,000 and costs associated with travel, since the group is local.

The money saved could be used elsewhere in the school budget – facing a $20 million shortfall – to defray other budget cuts, she said.

In another 5-4 vote, the board also changed the job qualifications for superintendent, removing stipulations that he or she hold an earned doctorate and have had three years of education experience in the past 10 years.

Debra Goldman, who chairs the Superintendent Search Committee, said the purpose for the change is to include as many qualified and potential candidates as possible.

"The worst thing that can happen is that we have several wonderful candidates to pick from," she said.

Among other business, the board also approved the acquisition of property for the H-6 high school project, which will be the district's largest high school.

The board unanimously approved moving forward with plans to buy 143 acres of land at the intersection of Rolesville and Quarry roads, northeast of Raleigh.

School staff said that appraisal estimates of about $30,000 per acre put the cost at about $4 million less than other locations. The project could also potentially open in 2013 – a year earlier than expected.

The board also approved to ending its membership with the North Carolina School Boards Association and the National School Boards Association. It did vote to renew its membership with the Southern Association of Colleges.

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  • mpheels Jun 17, 2010

    The frustrating thing is that this story should be the one at the top of the page with hundreds of comments, but b/c of the outdated tactics of Barber et al, the important story gets buried.

  • OGE Jun 16, 2010

    "This time make sure you hire a conservative as superintendent. You'll see academic scores and graduation rates improve because a conservative won't accept mediocrity." Whether one is conservative or not will not determine graduation rates or mediocrity! The PARENTS determine that by the gene pool the child comes from as well as the motivation toward learning again determined by PARENTS. Can't wait to see the test scores of the community schools that will be in typically low socio-economic areas of Wake County..... AND the solutions to fix it that the board majority come up with. Stay tuned folks....
    teacher56

    Which will more than likely mean more money for schools like Garner High and less for schools like Apex High. Instead of playign hide the students, they'll play hide the funds.

  • OGE Jun 16, 2010

    LOL revises qualifications?

    Does it state...do our bidding and do not have a mind of your own or you will be ousted.

  • blackdog Jun 16, 2010

    Did your doctor go to medical school, or do you even care ?

  • teacher56 Jun 16, 2010

    "This time make sure you hire a conservative as superintendent. You'll see academic scores and graduation rates improve because a conservative won't accept mediocrity."
    Whether one is conservative or not will not determine graduation rates or mediocrity! The PARENTS determine that by the gene pool the child comes from as well as the motivation toward learning again determined by PARENTS. Can't wait to see the test scores of the community schools that will be in typically low socio-economic areas of Wake County..... AND the solutions to fix it that the board majority come up with. Stay tuned folks....

  • cgpvnp Jun 16, 2010

    cubed32696--There are two search firms in Raleigh that are ranked in the top 5% of all search firms in the country. They could handle this search with no problem, and also be able to sell the local area to qualified candidates. They do executive level retained searches for some of the largest companies in the world. Finding a school supt. would be a welcomed search and the money would stay in Wake County.

  • blackdog Jun 16, 2010

    These new board members have the audacity to call themselves conservatives. No surprise actually. REAL Conservatives, don't squander money, especially when the economy and budget is so poor. But, calling yourself a "conservative" sounds good politically, to those who are struggling financially. And to choose a superintendent without education or education experience, will give as much in return.

  • itsnotmeiswear Jun 16, 2010

    I think the first requirement of any taxpayer money being spent is that it be spent in the state if possible. There are plenty of firms that can handle this in the area. I wonder whose pocket got greased on this one.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jun 16, 2010

    Ms. Morrison, don't you understand? There is no one local smart enough to pick a new Super. According to Margotti and Tedesco and friends, we need some one from up north to help us.

  • hardwork919 Jun 16, 2010

    "In another 5-4 vote, the board also changed the job qualifications for superintendent, removing stipulations that he or she hold an earned doctorate and have had three years of education experience in the past 10 years."

    Wait what? So now a person doesn't have to be educated or have experience? LOL Interesting, WCPSS... interesting indeed...

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