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MUSD's new Superintendent -- a miracle worker needed?
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) Governing Board selected the firm of McPherson & Jacobson, based in Omaha, Nebraska, to search (nationwide if necessary) for a new Superintendent. Two executive search consultants of the firm, Dr. Mary Kamerzell of Tucson, Arizona and Dr. Bob Neely of Phoenix, met with the MUSD Governing Board on February 1, 2012. In that meeting, they outlined their plan to find a new Superintendent:
While the three groups listed above came up with many suggestions and ideas, (Governing Board members alone had 35 different ideas in the beginning), Dr. Kamerzell and Dr. Neely were able to reduce the selection criteria to five. They are:
- Meet with Governing Board members and explain the actions their firm would undertake to achieve the results the MUSD Governing Board is seeking. Ask the Governing Board members for their ideas about the selection criteria they were seeking in a new Superintendent.
- Meet with the MUSD teachers, administrators, staff, and students to get their input for what they consider the characteristics needed for a new Superintendent to be successful in the MUSD.
- Invite and meet the parents of MUSD students and Maricopa citizens to discuss with Dr. Kamerzell and Dr. Neely their thoughts/ideas of the qualifications they consider to be most important for the new Superintendent in the District.
- Search Process: Advertise the position nationwide -- mostly in newsletters, journals, and pamphlets, of various educational/ professional organizations.
- Develop a brochure highlighting the advantages of being the new Superintendent of the MUSD.
- Evaluate the candidates according to the information obtained in items 1, 2, and 3 listed above.
- Select the top candidates and invite them to meet with members from the District (Governing Board and other focus groups).
The five selection criteria listed above will be used as the consulting firm screens the applications. The Governing Board will be shown everything the consulting firm used and did to narrow the candidates down to the top three or five applicants. Dr. Neely said, "By March 27, we plan to have screened all the applicants, and then by early May, the MUSD Governing Board hopes to announce the person selected. We welcome the involvement and all the participation by the audience that is here tonight. The law states it is the School Board's job to hire the Superintendent."
- The new Superintendent will be a capable leader who is positive, energetic, and confident in the ability to build a team, empowering others and holding them accountable for results.
- The Superintendent should be a great communicator, including being a good listener.
- The Superintendent should be a visionary who is an innovator and risk-taker.
- The Superintendent should be a well-educated and experienced professional who values longevity in the position.
- The Superintendent should be a community unifier who is outgoing, approachable, politically savvy, culturally sensitive, and knows how to build partnerships.
The firm of McPherson & Jacobson is being paid $16,900, to conduct this important search and obviously wanted to get as many answers as possible to the questions being asked. The first question they asked the audience was very thought provoking, and several seconds went by before hands were raised to give an answer. The question was: Why would anyone want to come to Maricopa to be the Superintendent?
Some of the answers were:
The next question was: What are the characteristics you think ALL candidates should possess to be Superintendent of the MUSD?
- Because the new Superintendent would find a large part of our Maricopa community wants to help.
- Maricopa is a deep rooted community, but still young.
- The new Superintendent would be starting with a blank slate, and a great chance to build the school district to be successful.
- Our community is a blend of old and new cultures that, by working together, can produce many good things for Maricopa.
- Our community is in transition. It is a community ready to burst out and accomplished a lot of good things.
Some of the answers were:
Finally, Dr. Mary Kamerzell asked the "loaded" question: "What do you consider the main issues the new Superintendent will face?"
- The new Superintendent should be a thoughtful leader who pushes for the long term.
- He or she should be willing to find out all of the data before he/she makes a decision.
- He/she should be a positive role model in the school and in the community.
- The new Superintendent should be prepared to come to work at 8:00 A.M. and work until 10:00 P.M. or later to get the job completed.
- He/she should have leadership skills, always be honest, family oriented, show kindness to everyone, have an open door policy, see through the smoke and mirrors, be able to work with the budget, and be able to build consensus.
Almost everyone had an opinion for that question. Some of the answers that seemed to be generally accepted by the audience were:
Dr. Neely smiled at the audience and said, "You people sound a lot like the members of the Governing Board. They want someone who can walk on water, and it sounds like this group wants a miracle maker. Well, we will work very hard to find the person this community needs to lead your school district. We welcome your involvement, thoughts, and participation."
- The new Superintendent must find a way to get the parents of MUSD students involved in the entire school process.
- Must understand the "Kyrene problem" and find a way to immediately stop it. We need to have our children staying here in Maricopa.
- The new Superintendent needs to know about and understand the "politics" of Maricopa.
- The new Superintendent needs to realize that teachers are putting in a lot of extra time.
- The Maricopa community needs to be a part of his life.
- The budget! The new Superintendent needs to understand the money problems of the district, but he/she mainly needs to be an educator, not a businessperson.
NOTE: There were only 40 people at the meeting. One would think the Maricopa community would have had a much larger turnout to discuss and exchange ideas with the consulting firm of McPherson & Jacobson. It has been said many times that the 10 most important two letter words in the English language are, "If it is to be, it is up to me." If you have ideas that you wish to express to the National Executive Consulting firm of McPherson and Jacobson, you can use one of the following listings:
McPherson & Jacobson, L. L. C.
7905 L St., Suite 310
Omaha, Nebraska 68127
Phone: 1-888-375-4814 or (402) 991-7031
Fax: (402) 991-7168
Marilyn Netoskie / CopaNews.com
Executive search consultants Dr. Mary Kamerzell and Dr. Bob Neely.