By Paul Thompson
After weeks of searching, the Hickman Mills school district now appears ready to choose their next permanent superintendent.
The C-1 Board of Education has spent the past month interviewing candidates, and is now wading through their shortlist with an eye on naming a permanent superintendent by December 18. Although he was unready to name names, school board president Breman Anderson Jr. indicated that the board has narrowed their focus in the search.
“Yes, we have made a short list, and there is one that is looking a little bit more favorable than others,” said Anderson last week. “We’ve entered into somewhat of a negotiation.”
The board hopes that an official announcement can be made in time for December’s regular Board of Education meeting, to be held on the night of the 18th. With any luck, the new superintendent can be introduced at the meeting after an official vote is held. The whirlwind search has proceeded with an aggressive timeline, beginning with the announcement naming former Grandview administrator Barbara Tate as interim superintendent in October.
“We put together a very aggressive 90-day, or 120-day schedule. We were on a very aggressive schedule, and it looks like we are going to meet it,” said Anderson. “The only thing that I would have done differently, in hindsight, is I would have started the process much earlier.”
Interim superintendent Barbara Tate, who is expected to remain with the district through the fiscal year (concluding June 30), has been a key figure in the selection process despite not having an official board vote.
“She has been instrumental,” said Anderson of Tate. “Her opinion has weighed heavily during this process.”
Despite the narrow window, Anderson feels confident that the district nonetheless interviewed a strong class of candidates. Now, it looks like the district is only a couple of steps away from wrapping up the search.
“I know that we’re in the final stages of negotiations. I’d say that we’re about 95% through with negotiations,” said Board member Dan Osman. “The five percent that we’re dealing with are some of the most important parts in my mind. I’m of the opinion that we need to have a superintendent that not only can make us academically successful, but is contractually compelled to do so.”
The new superintendent will likely be signed to a three-year contract that will need to be renewed by the board each year. More information will be available as the process unfolds.
“Once the contract is signed and agreed upon by all parties, then more information will become available,” said Anderson.