Mt. Vernon superintendent search nearing completion

Superintendent search nearing completion

To the editor:

The Mt. Vernon School Board is nearing the end of the search for someone to succeed Dr. (Bill) Riggs upon his retirement after his more than 20 years as the superintendent of Mt. Vernon Schools.

The search process included meetings with all employee groups including principals, central office staff, teachers and non-certified staff. We also received hundreds of responses to an online survey that we used to solicit input from parents, students and the community at large.

A profile of the ideal candidate was created from the stakeholder group’s input. This profile enabled us to work with a University Search Team made up of representatives from Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana State University and Purdue University.

The University Search Team support is offered free of charge from those universities to school boards across the state. The team was invaluable in helping the board focus in on the key attributes and experience that the school system requires in our next leader.

The board worked closely with all of the administrators last year to update the mission and vision. This was then used as the skeleton for the strategic plan that was just approved by the board in March.

The strategic plan was focused around four district level goals involving student achievement, community engagement, attracting and retaining excellent staff, and parent involvement. Using all of these inputs, the board decided we were looking for a superintendent that had demonstrated strong leadership, vision, community engagement and academic excellence.

When we closed the job posting in February, we had received 20 applications for the job. The University Search Team worked with the board for an entire day to narrow down the list to five candidates for interviews. This selection was accomplished using input from the community, parents, and school employees.

The board also used this day to finalize the actual interview and selection process. Following consultation with several other school districts in central Indiana, it was clear that there was no “right” way to complete this process. The board created a process, and it has worked very well.

As part of the process, the candidates were given the chance to meet the building administrators and key staff while touring the facilities. This helped the candidates determine if this was a place that they wanted to work.

Mt. Vernon schools have an excellent reputation as was evident by the number and the quality of the candidates that applied. Part of this process was to convince the candidates that the Mt. Vernon community was a place that they would want to live and work. We heard from each one that they were excited about becoming part of the Mt. Vernon community.

Since Southern Hancock and Greenfield-Central schools had gone through this process last year, we knew what type of contract we would need to offer to be competitive. There are many challenges and opportunities facing Mt. Vernon schools, the migration to one-to-one computing being one that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.

The board believes that we need a superintendent with a proven track record in implementing technology to enhance curriculum and reduce costs.

The school board is on track to name the new superintendent at a special meeting on May 5. This will be an exciting time for the school and for the community!

Tony May

Mt. Vernon School Board president