By the approval of the Webster Parish School Board, the search committee has established a starting time line in the quest to fill the now vacant role of superintendent of schools.
"It is my understanding that the board voted to give us the authority to make decisions relevant to filling the position," WPSB Vice President and co-committee chair, Charles Strong said.
During the hour-long discussion among the committee members, including ideas and suggestions from persons observing the open meeting, an outline of the advertisement was drawn up and a time line for placing the advertisements was determined.
"Since we have an interim superintendent, I don't think we will be in a dire circumstance, but we will be a week or two behind the schedule originally hoped for," Strong said.
While an official start date has not been determined, committee members said they hope it will be prior to the start of the new school year.
In a previous meeting, it was unanimously agreed that advertisements would be placed according to the policy in the board's handbook while waiting on the board's decision whether to conduct the search or hire a consultant.
The original proposed time line to run the first advertisements was from May 19 to 26.
The time line agreed upon last night includes the board's attorney to review and amend the advertisement so that it can be sent to the board's official journal and the nearest metropolitan newspaper by early next week.
"We will make sure to word the ad so that out-of-state applications will be accepted," Strong said.
The application period is scheduled for June 9 to July 11, and applications must be postmarked by July 11 and received by July 14.
It was agreed that the application should be available on the the school board's Web site and applications will be mailed to a Post Office box.
"All of the mail would stay in the box until the day of the deadline," committee member Frankie Mitchell said. "Two people would then go get the mail, that way it will protect each person."
The committee will screen all applicants during the week of July 18 and determine the final candidates to be selected for interviews.
"I suggest we interview as soon as we can, possibly the week of the 25th, with the possibility of holding interviews sooner, depending on the number of applicants," Strong said.
The committee also discussed the idea of having a reception, open interview process or a combination of those and similar ideas.
"It would keep the process open and make the community feel like they had more of a say," Mitchell said. "I think socially the proper thing to do would be to have a reception where they (the applicant) could meet the board and maybe give a presentation, explaining who they are."
"Possibly, this would allow the board to have a better understanding of who the candidates are and what they are like," Strong said. "The community could then have a chance to voice their opinions to their representing board members, as to what candidate they prefer. I think it would be more than appropriate for the public to attend."
The committee will determine final events and meetings concerning the interview process of the applicant, as well as how many final applicants will be selected, at a later date.
Changing of the Guard
Charles Strong, president of the Webster Parish School Board for the first half of the year, will serve as vice president the remainder of this year.
The shift in positions was agreed to by the board, after a stale mate was reached when selecting the board’s president.
Strong said he felt the decision by the board to split the term was understandable.
“We have 12 board members, representing 12 districts,” he said. “Ties sometimes happen, and we found a way to work through it.”
Johnnye Kennon, who vacated the position of vice president to fill the role as president, was not present at the meeting.
Strong said he feels Kennon is very capable of performing the duties of president.
“She is equally apprised,” Strong said. “We have worked well together.
“I think the exchange will be as smooth as glass,” he continued. “I expect it will be merely a matter of passing the gavel.”