Search firm emphasizes experience, managerial skills for next D-113A superintendent

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 12:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 1:24 p.m. CDT

LEMONT – Representatives from School Exect Connect, the search firm in charge of finding the next superintendent of Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A, cited experience and strong managerial skills as traits necessary in the new superintendent.

The firm presented its findings on the ideal superintendent candidate to the Board of Education on Wednesday after speaking with 49 community members in various forums and receiving 149 responses to an online survey.

“I could probably sum it by saying this should not be a training ground to help somebody learn to be a superintendent,” said firm representative Tom Madden. “We believe what you need here is an experienced superintendent.”

With this in mind, Madden said the firm would focus on interview candidates who are current superintendents.

He said the district will have to overcome past perception of the its financial status and the volatility of the board.

Some potential candidates he talked to had done research on the district and decided they did not want to apply because of its reputation, he said.

He said part of the firm’s job is to convince candidates the district has changed.

“There’s a history here that has painted the Board of Education as being an issue,” he said. “We believe that is changing. Every one of you we’ve talked to believed it is changing.”

Madden said the board has developed a reputation for micromanaging. An experienced superintendent with strong managerial skills could better define the roles of the board and the administration.

“We don’t normally say that (strong managerial skills are important),” he said. “Normally the focus is on leadership.”

Interim Superintendent Pamela Hollich said she would be willing to endorse the board to any candidates.

“I have personally found these people easy to work with,” she said.

Board President Cindy Kelly said she agreed with the search firm’s assessment.

“I feel much more comfortable with these guys sitting with me in choosing the next superintendent,” she said.

Some board members questioned whether limiting the search to experienced candidates would allow for a deep enough pool.

Firm representative Kathy Robbins said 35 candidates have applied for the position, and about half of them are experienced superintendents.

Of those candidates, Madden said, eight have stood out and interviews have already been set up with some of them.

Still, Madden said he would keep in mind less experienced candidates who have the necessary traits.

“I would like to at least see one or two candidates who are not a superintendent, just to see the difference,” said board member Brian Bushnell.

Robbins said the search firm would present a slate of five to seven candidates to the board Feb. 19.

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