Search begins for new superintendent
It all must seem like deja vu to the Carbon School Board.
Last week they began the search for a new superintendent to lead the county's school district, something they were doing last winter too.
"Once again I want to say that this is the most important decision you will make as school board members," Richard Stowell, the executive director of the Utah School Board Association, told the board during their regular meeting on Jan. 12. "This is a real thought process and takes time to do it right."
Basically these same words were uttered last winter when the board began a search which ended in selecting a very experienced person, George Park, for the job. However, events in Park's career prior to him coming to Carbon District created some problems for the new leader, and eventually, after only a few months on the job, he resigned at the end of 2010. Now the district is back to square one.
"When you made the decisions last year you involved a citizens committee in the process," stated Stowell. "It was a good move and it was productive. Are there any changes you want to make in this process?"
Board President Barry Deeter asked about whether other districts used committees and Stowell told the board that various districts do it differently.
"Right now we have two other superintendent openings in the state," he said. "Jordan and Weber Districts are in this process right now. Jordan is using a broad committee from the district that is very complex. Weber has decided that the board will do the selection of candidates and do the interviews. But they have set up a web site for the public to comment on the process. There are any number of ways to do it."
The meeting had begun with a public comment period that was highlighted by the remarks of Jim Thompson, the president of the Carbon Education Association, and during those remarks he had mentioned during the candidate selection process last year the board had not involved a teachers representative in the process the way most of the district's certified employees thought they should. How the points Thompson made will affect what the makeup of any committee the board will select for this new process remains to be seen.
Stowell pointed out that the district is ahead of the game this time because they already have an advertising brochure and have a recent history on performing the process.
"Timing will be critical on this," commented acting superintendent Patsy Bueno during the meeting. "There is an optimal window when people in education are looking for a job. I think that it is best to do candidate selection in March, to interview in April and to make the final choice and name the new person in May."
Board member Jeff Richens also wondered about advertising and how far the such a posting should reach. Deeter pointed out that the salary the district could offer may limit the expanse of the advertising.
"You could keep it in the west," stated Stowell. "But it doesn't take much more to broadcast it nationwide. I suggest you cast the net far and wide."
After more discussion the board decided to begin right away and to also solicit from the employees in the district the kinds of traits they would like to see in the new person who would lead the district.
In another matter the board also voted to approve a roof redesign for Mont Harmon Junior High. An engineering firm recently completed an $8,520 seismic study on the building because the board felt it was necessary because of some problems with the schools structure. During the meeting they approved the money for the design of a new roof for the building. The cost will be $67,440.
Bueno pointed out that the building has been kind of in limbo, because everyone has been reluctant to do anything based on the idea that the district might want to build a new junior high school. That new complex would either replace the present Mont Harmon or would be one that would be a super junior high and house all the junior high students from the district.
"We need to do this study and figure out what we need to do," she said. "But we have a building that is much more seismically at risk than Mont Harmon in Helper Junior High's building. That will need work in the future too."
Someone also mentioned the high school, but officials pointed out that other than being land locked, Carbon High, even though the central part of the structure is older than Mont Harmon, is in much better shape seismically.
Mont Harmon was built on shale when it it went up in the late 1960s. It is also built on a concrete pad which apparently moves around. Structural problems of one kind or another have plagued the building for years.
After the roofing study the board will have a better handle on what will need to be done and the costs involved in any construction work.