Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Board opts for in-house superintendent search


October 5, 2017

The Haines Borough school board decided Tuesday to conduct the district’s superintendent search in-house with assistance from a consultant and search committees.

The school board is looking for a permanent superintendent after four years of turnover. Interim superintendent Rich Carlson presented the board with options of search firms and costs at its recent meeting.

The board decided against the Alaska Superintendent’s Association, the Association of Alaska School Boards (which Haines used for its former superintendent search for Tony Habra) or a Lower 48 firm to run the search. Costs ranged from about $6,000 to $16,000.

Board president Anne Marie Palmieri said she thought AASB’s method was “tunneled” and “linear.”

“One of the reasons why I’m not excited about going back to AASB is I feel like we’d be doing the exact same thing,” said board member Sara Chapell. “We’d be asking the same questions and rolling through the same process.”

Carlson said, “I thought about this a lot, and I know that nobody here is going to have enough time to do the full search. I think we can put this together and do the search ourselves. The biggest thing that I would have a lot of difficulty doing would be the reference checks.”

He said reference checks and background checks would take up the most time, and the board should consider hiring a consultant for a two- or three-week period to make those calls.

“So much of this is about the right fit, and I think we’ve got a pretty good feel of what that right fit is,” Carlson said.

Palmieri suggested the district subscribe to a background check. Carlson said AASB might also provide that service.

Palmieri said the board has a lot of documents from the past two superintendent searches that could be used this time around. She said her only hesitancy about doing the search in-house was the draw on time and resources from Carlson and the school administration.

Chapell said she felt unsure about the board making the decision on its own.

“My confidence is a little bit shaky having been on the board that’s responsible for the last two hires,” Chapell said.

A personnel committee of Chapell and Palmieri will draft a hiring plan to bring to the next regular meeting in November and compose the job announcement to be posted on Dec. 1.

The personnel committee will also help select community members and other stakeholders, including teachers, student council members, Student Advisory Council members, and school administrators to be a part of a search committee that will provide input on what it is looking for in a superintendent candidate.


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