Search for new superintendent progresses

Board to select finalists next week

Things are moving quickly with the search for a new Webster City Schools superintendent according to Mike Billings, a consultant with McPherson and Jacobson LLC, the firm conducting the search for the district.

“We’re vetting candidates now,” he told the Webster City school board Monday night. He said a total of 27 completed applications had been received.

“I’m confident we’re going to advance some quality candidates for you to consider,” he said. “I think you’re going to have a tough time choosing which one.”

Billings and associate Lyle Schwartz presented the board with a report from the recent stakeholders meetings held in the district. Groups including teachers, administrators, students and parents/community members met recently to talk about the search. Billings said each group was asked the same four questions: What are the greatest assets of the community? What are the greatest assets of the Webster City Community Schools? What do you look for in a new superintendent? And issues of concern. Billings walked the board members through the lengthy list of comments from the stakeholders.

He also said that 42 individuals had participated by taking an online survey.

Schwartz worked through a series of interview questions with the board members and helped them narrow the focus on the interview process.

Billings told the board that there will likely be about four candidates advanced to the board. The consultants will meet with the board in closed session Monday, March 5 to present their proposal for the finalists. The names of the finalists will be revealed once the board comes out of closed session to vote on the list of candidates.

Interviews will be held later this month, and board members indicated that the candidates will spend an entire day in the district, meeting with representatives of the same stakeholders groups, followed by an evening interview with the school board.

A public hearing on the 2018-19 school budget was set for March 26 during the regular school board meeting. Superintendent Mike Sherwood said he the tax rate would likely remain nearly the same as the present year or decrease slightly. Currently, the rate is $14.86 per thousand of valuation, and Sherwood anticipated that the rate could drop slightly to $14.83. He added that a full presentation on the budget would be given at the March 26 meeting.

The same night, a hearing will also be held on the 2018-19 school calendar.

A resignation was accepted from Heather Vanderbilt, middle school art teacher. A contract was extended to Michael Ross for the high school tennis coaching position.