Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Only one applies for top position

Weseman meets Friday deadline

September 23, 2000

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Interim Supt. Randy Weseman was the only person to meet Friday's deadline for applications to be superintendent of Lawrence public schools.

Weseman, a 25-year employee of the district, was the sole person to request application materials and the lone individual to confirm that he applied. It was unclear whether there were last-minute applicants, because district staff technically could submit materials until midnight. None was anticipated.

"This looks like the revisiting of a lot of issues that have been adjudicated."

Todd Cohen, assistant director of university relations

"I didn't expect more," said Sue Morgan, board vice president and co-chair of the superintendent search subcommittee. "This is not at all disturbing to me. It was generally assumed that Randy would be the one that applied."

Weseman submitted an application Friday. The packet included responses to questions about his most significant educational accomplishments and his view of the district's greatest challenges in the next three years.

He said in an interview that he began his education career in Lawrence and wanted to end it here.

"This is the only place I want to be superintendent," Weseman said. "This is where I live and work."

The board was thrust into search mode when Supt. Kathleen Williams quit in June to take a superintendent's job in Illinois. She led Lawrence's 10,300-student district for two years.

Williams' departure was followed by resignations of Assistant Supt. Nettie Collins-Hart and Jim Freeman, the district's executive director of business.

Exodus of three top administrators prompted the board to reconsider plans to delve into a national superintendent search.

In August, the board authorized an internal search for candidates among existing district staff. The rationale was that external candidates would be loathe to apply for Lawrence superintendent if a "strong" internal candidate was in the mix, Morgan said.

If the board decides Weseman is the best person for the job, his appointment would probably be confirmed in October. If a majority of the board rejects Weseman's candidacy, a regional or national search would be launched.

Weseman's contract as interim superintendent runs to June 30, 2001.

The board will discuss logistics for advancing the search Monday night. The board is expected to interview Weseman in early October. At least 75 people submitted written comments to the board to help identify key areas for discussion with candidates.

"I'm hopeful that we can have this part of it wrapped up in the third week of October," Morgan said.

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