FULTON, Ill. The search is on for a new superintendent in the River Bend School District, and board members are feeling confident as the process continues to move forward.
River Bend School Board officials met Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to interview six candidates for the position, and while the candidates; identities remain confidential until a selection has been made, the board members have been impressed with what they've seen.
"I think we've interviewed a person that will probably become the next superintendent," school board president Dan Portz said. "I feel real confident that we'll have a decision announced by the end of the month."
The timeframe is on par with what the board anticipated in December after their first meeting with the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), the group which has handled the selection process since the beginning.
After the December meeting, board members came up with a list of qualifications they expected from the potential applicants and the IASB put together a brochure to announce the opening of the position.
Once they began receiving interest in the superintendent job, the IASB narrowed it down to the six candidates that were presented to the district to begin the interview process on Monday.
"We went throughout the Illinois Association of School Boards, looking for someone with financial expertise, common core experience and administrative experience of some sort," school board vice president Jane Orman-Luker said. "They basically did all the leg work of announcing the vacancy and an overview of what River Bend looks like in terms of our students and staff and they decided who was a suitable fit for River Bend."
Now that the board has interviewed all six candidates, they must narrow the selection down even more to one to three candidates for a second interview. Those who are selected will have an opportunity to tour the district's facilities and meet the administrators they could soon be working with.
The superintendent search comes after Chuck Holliday, the district's current leader, and the board announced they would part ways in June when Holliday's contract expires. A reason for the decision was never disclosed but rather both parties just said they had decided to go in different directions.
With the term ending in June, the school board has felt the pressure to fill the vacancy slowly building, but Portz and Orman-Luker feel they are at a good place in regards to the timetable they set for themselves.
"The new superintendent would typically start July 1 and we'd like to have someone who can just come in already prepared," Orman-Luker said. "We want to make sure that transition is smooth. If you wait too long, candidates may already have positions in other districts and you obviously want to have the best pool of candidates to select from. Right now I think everybody is satisfied with how everything is moving and we've certainly gotten a good variety of people."
In continuing to move that process along, Portz anticipates the board will have selected two or three candidates for a second interview within the next two weeks, in the hopes to fill the vacancy by the end of the month or early next month.
Although they are trying to make the superintendent search a timely procedure, they know finding a suitable candidate is not a matter taken lightly and thorough research is necessary to making a decision.
"The superintendent is a pretty significant position in our school district, so we need to make sure we have the right person for the job," Portz said.