The search for a new superintendent for Jenkins Independent Schools entered a more serious phase earlier this week with a meeting between the Jenkins Board of Education and a field consultant with the Kentucky School Boards Association.
The KSBA’s Tim Eaton also met with the school system’s superintendent screening, which consists of Interim Middle High School Principal Thomas Pinion, teacher Brian Bentley, parent Kristi Graham, staff member Jennifer Adams, Elementary Principal Stacy Collier, and board member Brenda DePriest.
Eaton told the group the purpose of the meeting was to inform the committee members of their roles and responsibilities, and to introduce the process and charge to the committee. The committee’s main charge is to assess the applications for the superintendent’s job and to deliver a list of three to five qualified applicants to the school board by May 23. All applications will be turned over to the board, although the board is not required to accept them. The candidates will be presented in alphabetical order and not ranked. On May 23, the committee will formally meet with the board on May 23 to recommend and discuss the candidates. The committee must maintain confidentiality concerning the applicants except for the necessity to check references.
A total of 16 applications were submitted for the job, with 14 complete applications and two that were incomplete. No women applied for the position. The applicants consist of four superintendents, six central office employees, five principals and one person in another position. Eight of the candidates were from Kentucky and eight were from out of state. Eaton said that one candidate is from Montana.
Board Chairman Tracy Goff said that in his experience, an incomplete application is usually “very incomplete,” with critical information left out. Eaton said that incomplete applications often don’t include required documents such as certification, background checks, and other things that will disqualify them if they are not included. However, the board and committee agreed that in the case of something that is minor or insignificant, it would not necessarily merit disqualification.
The board’s desired criteria call for an outstanding educational leader who is student centered with a proven record of improving student achievement, and administrative experience, and for an instructional leader committed to college and career readiness. The board also asked for the applicant have the ability to effectively communicate with staff and the community to achieve district goals, to possess strong morals and ethics, and to have experience in budgeting, finance and a working knowledge of the Kentucky education system.
Goff said it is unlikely that any single candidate will possess all of these attributes, but that in his opinion, being a good leader is the most important quality. Eaton said he is a former school superintendent from a system of over 8,000 students, and agreed with Goff. He said that no superintendent can do everything and that it is extremely important to surround yourself with good people. Key staff are critical and each will have his or her own strengths.
On May 9, the second screening committee meeting will be held, with applicants for background and reference checks to be chosen. Interviews will be conducted on May 16 and recommendations for the board will be finalized. A second joint meeting will be held on May 23 and the board will receive screening committee recommendations. On May 24, the finalist will be interviewed and the new superintendent will be named by June 15.