The Groveport Madison Board of Education hopes to have a new superintendent hired by the end of May, but before the first interview question is asked, the district is using community input to shape its search.

The district has partnered with New Albany-based K-12 Business Consulting to conduct the search and develop a profile of the ideal candidate.

K-12 President Chris Mohr said consultants met with more than 100 district stakeholders March 28, from high school students to staff members and administrators. That culminated in an open forum for community members and a survey that was distributed to parents and posted online through March 30.

"Before we like to recruit, we like to know what it is that we're looking for," said Mohr, a former treasurer with Dublin City Schools. "Every school district has different needs at different times."

The "search profile" will help match candidates who possess the skills the community has indicated are most important.

K-12 Consulting will use the data it has gathered to focus interviews, Mohr said. For example, many survey respondents have mentioned bond campaigns and school funding as future needs, so it would make sense to interview candidates with prior campaign experience, he said.

"It'll be interesting to see what we've gathered from these profiles and what we've learned," he said.

Responses online

The survey responses and results from the focus groups will be compiled and posted April 12 on the district website, gocruisers.org, said Kathy Lowery, a K-12 search consultant.

The survey asked respondents to list the strengths and most important issues facing the district. It also asked what characteristics the board of education should look for in the next superintendent, and asked people to rank issues such as "implementing a vision for the district," and fiscal management on a 1-10 scale.

During an informal conversation led by Mohr, attendees at the March 28 community forum listed the teachers and staff and the new high school currently under construction among the district's positives. Concerns included communication, preserving a cohesive message throughout the district and its buildings and losing students to other districts through open enrollment.

Destination district

At 5,900 students, Groveport Madison's size makes it a "destination district" for potential candidates, and his company plans to target candidates with prior superintendent experience, Mohr said.

The district is accepting applications through April 27. The base salary range is between $140,000 and $169,000 annually.

The tentative timeline calls for interviews to be conducted over several weeks in May, with a final decision being announced by May 30.

The new superintendent would be expected to start on or before Aug. 1 but will not be required to live in the district because that would likely reduce the pool of potential candidates by 40 percent, Mohr said.

Internal candidates can apply for the job but they will be expected to meet the same profile set forth in K-12's reports, Lowery said.

Deputy Superintendent John Hurd was appointed interim superintendent through July 31, after Bruce Hoover resigned unexpectedly in February.

Hurd has not said whether he plans to apply for the superintendent position.

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