District reaches out to promote public involvement in super search for the next superintendent

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - The school district is conducting a community survey.

The search is on.

Members of the Crook County School Board seek community input on the superintendent who will replace Duane Yecha when he retires June 30, 2018.

"The more involvement we can get from the community, the better off we are going to be, with the survey, with the selection committee," said Board Chair Doug Smith. "I think that it really adds to the process if we get community involvement."

First, they encourage locals to take an online five-question survey about what they would like to see in the next superintendent and what is special about the school district that they feel needs to be preserved. The survey is on the district's website through Jan. 5.

Secondly, the board is looking for staff and community members who would be interested in serving on the Superintendent Search Screening Committee to review applications.

"The people that pay the bills should be involved, whether they be parents or citizens," said board member Walt Wagner.

Other board members agree.

"I believe that it's very important that there are parents as well as people involved in the community either as leadership or business owners, but some key people from outside the district that would be involved in helping us make sure that we stay true to our value of finding someone that will represent our community well," Smith said, adding that he also would like to see a broad representation of district staff and all board members. He would also be open to including a high school student on the committee.

The screening committee will consist of approximately 15 community and staff members representing a wide range of people. Members will be appointed at the Monday, Jan. 8 school board meeting. Applications are open now through Jan. 5.

Committee members must be available in late February to meet with search consultant Greg McKenzie of NextUp Leadership and spend approximately 10 to 15 hours reviewing applications. The screening committee will meet with the school board in executive session on Monday evening Feb. 26 to bring forward their top choices for superintendent candidates.

"Last year, they averaged 23 applicants for every job that they posted," Smith said of NextUp Leadership. "He felt that we would probably be in excess of 30 due to the fact that we have a strong district, and we don't have a lot of problems."

Smith and current board members Scott Cooper and Patti Norris were all on the board in 2010-11 when hiring Yecha. That process taught them to have a candidate chosen by the beginning of spring break.

"There's a sweet spot for getting people to apply, then you need to make sure that your process is lined out and that you're able to stay with that calendar," Smith said.

They plan to negotiate a tentative contract with the new superintendent by March 23, which would allow for the new leader to relocate to the area and collaborate with Yecha to ensure a peaceful transition, Smith said.

"That person will guide our schools for the next five to seven to 10 years, and it has to be something that our entire community buys into and hopefully takes an active role in helping us decide who that individual is," Smith said.

The Superintendent Search Survey is online through Jan. 5:

The Superintendent Search Screening Committee Application is available from the CCSD office, 471 NE Ochoco Plaza Drive, or online at Applications are due Jan. 5.

For more information, call 541-447-5664.