The Ladue school district at one time enjoyed the stability of having two superintendents run the district for the first 58 combined years. That was under the watchful eye of the late Dr. Ivan C. Nicholas and retired Dr. Charles D. McKenna.
Then, the revolving door began. The system hired and watched leave quickly Drs. Stewart Weinberg, David Benson and most recently, Marsha Chappelow.
District faithful are wondering out loud, if, this time it will be a hit or a miss?
The Ladue School District Board of Education has taken its charge seriously, both establishing a strict search timeline and hiring a national search firm (McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha, NE) specialists in this line of work.
The district conducted two informal public sessions to gain input from interested parties. Those who could not attend either session (Tuesday night at Ladue-Horton Watkins High School or the board offices Wednesday morning) may add their comments by emailing, faxing or writing the Omaha office.
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 402-991-7168
- write: McPherson & Jacobson, 7905 L St., Suite 310, Omaha, NE 68127
Comments and suggestions may be sent anonymously.
Dr. James C. Christman, an educator at Pittsburgh State University (Kansas) and consultant to McPherson & Jacobson led Tuesday night’s discussion group for some 50 in attendance.
Dr. Christman outlined the five selection criteria team to be used by his firm and by the school board:
- possess a high E.Q. (Emotional Quotient) as exemplified by sense of humor, empathy and approachability.
- Demonstrate high ethical standards and actions; honesty and trustworthy.
- Demonstrate strong leadership skills-decisive and assertive and thoughtful.
- Possess strong communications skills; verbal, written, listening, expressive and receptive, as well as excellent grammar.
- Knows and understands the Ladue community and its values.
Some in the audience took issue with this aforementioned list. School board member Sheri Glantz quickly intervened, saying the list of five criteria was boiled down from one of 38.
Still, others like attorney and City of Ladue councilman Hal Burroughs were seeking a vision of excellence in education more than a given criteria like honesty and good ethical standards.
“Let’s face it, the best candidates have other opportunities, and Ladue needs to market itself to find the best,” said Dr. Christman. “This time of the year is the prime season for superintendent searches.”
One respondent said he’d rather see Ladue hire someone who already holds the same position, rather than getting someone out of work.
Experienced teacher adds in
Veteran Old Bonhomme School Kindergarten teacher Dee Dee Boudinet said, in her opinion “The next superintendent will be the face of our community and have the ability to do things like get bond issues passed, etc.”
Others felt having a strong working knowledge of the intricacies of district finances was critical. Christman said there is not a school district in America that is working with enough resources.
Burroughs said “It is critical the new superintendent must have the ability to work with the resources available and do it well.”
What happens next
The application process ends January 23, though Christman hinted if a truly outstanding application came in late, it would still get consideration.
Christman has prepared the board for a four-hour session in early February to review all applications. McPherson & Jacobson will be at that meeting to speak on behalf of any or all of the applicants.
The Ladue school community will be able to meet the new superintendent, hopefully by the end of February.
Feel free to tell us below in the comments section what criteria you are looking for in the next hired superintendent.