CCS hires search help

Catawba County Schools (CCS) will look to state search professionals in its quest to find the system's next superintendent.

On Friday, the CCS Board of Education hired the N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA) to help in the search for a successor to Glenn Barger, who will retire as superintendent June 30. CCS will pay NCSBA a minimum of $10,500 for its services.

NCSBA will advertise the CCS vacancy, collect applications and conduct background checks on potential candidates, among other services. CCS leaders will ultimately choose the new superintendent.

"We're here until you're happy with who you have," said Allison Schafer, NCSBA legal counsel and director of policy. "That cost does not go up if I have to go find other candidates."

The CCS board considered hiring private search consultant Jim Causby to aid the process, but Causby withdrew from consideration, school board Chairwoman Joyce Spencer said Friday. Causby told the board in December he would charge CCS $5,000 to serve as a search consultant.

NCSBA recently assisted Hickory Public Schools in a superintendent search that ended with the hiring of Dr. Walter Hart. Schafer said NCSBA has helped about 10 school systems with superintendent searches in the past year. All searches have produced strong pools of candidates because of the poor economy and job market, she said.

"We recommend you get started as soon as possible because spring is when everyone is looking," Schafer said.

CCS school board members identified qualities they prefer in superintendent candidates, and the board set a March 7 deadline for candidates to apply. Schafer said NCSBA will begin work advertising the search Monday, and $674 in advertising costs is part of NCSBA's charges to the system.

School board members agreed they want Barger's successor to have superintendent or assistant superintendent experience and experience as a principal.

"I'd have a hard time with a superintendent who's never been a principal," said member Steve Hilton.

The board also agreed a doctorate degree is a preferred, but not required, credential.

"I don't think it's really necessary," said member Marilyn McRee.

"But I think it shows a commitment to growth in education," Spencer added.

School board members set financial and organizational planning, personnel relations, community relations, educational leadership and technological usage as key qualifications for candidates. The board also approved a survey the system will use to obtain search process input from CCS faculty and staff members.

CCS leaders say they hope to employ the system's next superintendent by July 1.

New names
On Friday, the CCS school board also approved new names for its office buildings in Newton.

The building on Anderson Avenue will be the CCS Center for Administrative Services, and student transcripts will be available at that location. The facility on N.C. 16 Business will be the CCS Center for Instructional Services.

"All administrative offices of the school system are now located in this building (on Anderson Avenue)," Superintendent Glenn Barger said in a recommendation for the board to name the buildings. "As this thing has started to evolve, I've heard a lot of opinions from employees as to what these buildings should be named. I would advise you keep the names as general as possible."

The system plans to construct signage with the new names outside the facilities.