The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 23, 2013

River Bend searches for new superintendent

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

FULTON, Ill. — The search for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Robert "Chuck" Holliday is well under way for the River Bend School District, with the hope that a final decision will be made in late February or early March.

At a River Bend meeting Tuesday, board members met with Donna Johnson, a consultant with the Illinois Association of School Boards, to discuss requirements, expectations and needs the River Bend District is searching for in a new superintendent.

"I am here to assist you in your search for a new superintendent," Johnson said. "Our reputation is based on your satisfaction, which is guaranteed."

At the meeting Tuesday, Johnson worked with the board to plan a brochure that will be sent out to potential candidates and a timeline that will allow the district time to search, interview and decide on the right fit for them.

Although the interview deadlines are tentatively set, one deadline is crucial to the board's desire to make the superintendent search swift and thorough; applications will only be accepted until 12 p.m. on Dec. 2.

After the applications have been received, Johnson and two other IASB consultants will sort through them and present the River Bend School Board five to seven potential candidates on Dec. 9 to be interviewed in January.

Board member Chris Barnett suggested that once the district receives the candidate profiles, they begin the interview process as quickly as possible.

"If we're close then I think the sooner the better," Barnett said. "I think we try to do everything as quick as we can with this."

However, with the holidays approaching, Johnson recommended the board take the time they need to review the candidates and come back to the interview process after the first of the year.

"You're not behind. If it were April and you were just starting this, you would be behind," Johnson said. "Even if I come and present the materials and you wait until early January to interview, you're still fine. Then you have all that time to review them."

Board member Jane Orman-Luker agreed with Johnson and suggested a tentative schedule for interviews on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13.

"I would rather not rush us," Orman-Luker said.

Another difficult decision the board needed to make Tuesday included what the district would offer the possible applicants for a negotiable, base salary pay.

Knowing the market would be competitive for quality superintendents, that meet the district's standards, the board tossed around starting salaries between $90,000 and $100,000.

Orman-Luker suggested the board lean toward the $100,000 base salary because of the job duties that will be asked of the new superintendent and so the district doesn't limit themselves to the candidates that apply.

"I don't know how we can go less than $100,000 to be honest," Orman-Luker said. "What we want to be sure that we're doing, is presenting an attractive starting point."

The board set the base salary at $98,000l.

Now that they have met with a consultant and have set their standards to a nearly final product, the board will leave the search up to Johnson and her team with the hope that she will find the right superintendent to fit in the River Bend School District.

"We need to have somebody that's going to be a match for us," Orman-Luker said.