Starkville school officials spent more than two hours Tuesday night discussing how to do their job, which right now include how they plan to hire the next superintendent.
After a lengthy discussion from Mike Waldrop, executive director of the Mississippi School Board Association, the board took less than five minutes to vote to contract with the MSBA to handle the superintendent search.
The full search will cost the district $9,500. The board will work with the MSBA to develop their criteria for the qualifications and qualities they want in the next superintendent. The association will advertise, check references, interview the candidates to confirm their qualification, and prepare an extensive report for the school board on the applicants.
The school board can then take the association”s professional recommendation about top candidates or choose their own, and can conduct their final interviews in a public setting.
Board members Eric Heiselt and Lee Brand were both absent. Board president Keith Coble explained what kept them away.
Before the unanimous vote, Waldrop lectured board members on their role as a board and the superintendent”s job.
“The superintendent is responsible for the means to the end,” Waldrop said. “The board is responsible for the end results.”
This was the primary message he hammered home through examples and repetition. The school board sets the district”s policy, and having correct policy in place allows them to make good, defensible decisions.
“Stay in your lane by focusing on results and having clear rules,” Waldrop said. “It”s really that simple.”
In other business, the board unanimously voted to change Beth Sewell”s title from acting superintendent to interim superintendent. Pickett Wilson explained.
“It was always my understanding that the reason (Sewell”s) title was acting was (former superintendent) Ms. (Judy) Couey was on leave, but still in the position,” Wilson said. “That will change July 1.”
The board met for the first time in the large Greensboro Center Auditorium to allow room for many members of the public to observe. Eight came, counting school personnel in the audience.
The board will meet again at 6 p.m. July 5 in the Greensboro Center for their regular meeting. They plan to adopt their budget at that time.