LEMONT – With many of its members having participated in the superintendent search two years ago, the Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A Board of Education is seeking a more thorough process to find a superintendent who will stay with the district longer than its previous head administrator Susan Birkenmaier.
The board heard presentations from three search firms during its Dec. 4 meeting, and plans to select a firm Dec. 11.
Though board members did not agree on one search firm in post-presentation discussions Dec. 4, a majority voiced preference for a for-profit firm, as opposed to the nonprofit Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), which was used in 2011.
An informal poll divided members evenly between School Exec Connect and Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates. Board member Brian Bushnell was not present.
The base cost of IASB's service is cheaper at $6,500, though there are additional fees for other services that the district would likely want. The district spent $8,000 on its last search.
HYA and Associates starts at $12,500 with some additional fees. School Exec Connect has a $16,000 all-included cost, but will reduce the price if the district does not use some services.
Board President Cindy Kelly said with all the additional fees for IASB's plan, the cost would be comparable to the others for similar service.
Most members said the for-profit firms' ability to recruit candidates rather than just advertising the position was a positive.
"We need somebody more aggressive," said board member Dave Molitor. "We used the IASB approach before and it wasn't enough."
Kelly said she was not impressed with the final candidates IASB gave them previously and that either School Exec Connect or HYA and Associates would do a better search.
Board members Al Malley and Mike Aurelio said they preferred IASB.
Aurelio said all the firms would draw from the same candidates and the board could use a more active approach to get better candidates with IASB.
School Exec Connect and HYA and Associates each have a Lemont connection with their proposed search team.
Lemont resident Steve Humphrey made the presentation for HYA and Associates and would be part of the team.
School Exec Connect's search team would be led by former Lemont High School District 210 superintendent Tom Madden. He worked for the firm when it helped the high school select Superintendent Mary Ticknor.