Last day for superintendent applications; finalists to be announced in coming weeks

Tuesday is the last day for candidates to apply for the position of Lawrence public schools superintendent, and after that the process will start to move along a bit more quickly.

Consultants with McPherson and Jacobson, the national firm the school district hired to aid in the search, have said they usually receive about 15 to 20 applications for open positions in Kansas. The five characteristics in the board’s candidate profile will be used to select about 10 top applicants (then narrowed to six semifinalists, then to three finalists).

I haven’t been able to confirm yet how many applications were received, but board members and consultants with the firm have been pretty confident that despite a trend of superintendent vacancies in Kansas, Lawrence would be able to attract a good group of quality candidates.

Current Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll, 61, announced in November that he would resign his position effective June 30. Doll has accepted a full-time position as associate professor and executive director of the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute at Kansas State University. Doll has said a desire to return to teaching, the lack of financial and morale support of public schools in the Kansas Legislature, and changes to KPERS early retirement rules (Doll is a “working retiree”) were all contributing factors in his choice to resign.

About 30 superintendents of Kansas school districts resigned this year, and the Lawrence district is one of about a dozen with positions still waiting to be filled for the upcoming school year.

Once the three finalists for the position are selected in early March, select community members will be able to provide input on the board’s decision. Four focus groups of about a dozen people each will meet with each finalist and provide feedback to the board. The four groups will be made up of: teacher union representatives, principals and teachers; central office administrators; community members, parents and students; and classified staff.

Remaining timeline for superintendent hire:

• Feb. 29: Special board of education meeting to review candidate applications, select semifinalists and finalize interview schedule.

• March 3-4: Board conducts candidate screening interviews with semifinalists and chooses finalists

• March 7-8: Board conducts finalist interviews with an opportunity for representatives of student, parent, staff and community groups to meet finalists and provide feedback to the board

• Week of March 7: Special board meeting for the hiring of a superintendent

In other news and notes:

• At Broken Arrow Elementary School, individuals and classroom group pictures will be taken.

Cordley Elementary will have its third-grade music program at 7 p.m.

• The Langston Hughes Elementary pancake feed will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

New York Elementary will host its winter arts party from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Sunflower Elementary will host “Cultural Connections,” an international potluck and game night from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

• The Liberty Memorial Central Middle School Parents’ Group will meet from 6 to 7 p.m.

West Middle School will have its music concert from 7 to 8 p.m.