Board: Search is under way

By Trina Trice

The Clayton County Board of Education's national superintendent search is under way, says one board member.

Barbara Wells asserts that the school board has made the first payment toward the $26,500 contract that puts the Georgia School Boards Association in charge of the board's search.

"We made our first payment, so the search (has begun)," she said.

The school board voted unanimously to use GSBA as its search firm at a meeting earlier this month.

For the search, GSBA duties would include establishing a timetable for the search that has yet to be released.

A sample of a GSBA timeline is as follows:

? Initiation of contract to completion of brochure: three weeks.

? Mailing of brochure to application deadline: six to eight weeks.

? Review of applications: two to three weeks.

? Meetings with school board: five to 10 days.

* Interviews: four weeks.

The organization is also helping the board develop and mail a brochure and other materials connected with the search.

GSBA says it will advertise the position for the board in several publications, including the New York Times Recruitment Package for Education Clients, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and with various organizations, including the Georgia Department of Education.

GSBA is handling the screening of applicants and will make sure various background checks, such as criminal and credit history, are done on the candidates.

Dr. Don Rooks, GSBA consultant and coordinator of the Clayton County Schools search, estimated that the board members could expect, on average, 40 applicants for the position, he said at the school board's retreat with GSBA in July.

The board will have to attend a half-day workshop on the interview process and contract negotiations before interviewing the top candidates.

The school board has been at odds since a then majority voted to oust former Superintendent Dan Colwell in January.

Four board members have expressed support for superintendent candidate Dr. Lonnie Edwards, deputy superintendent of DeKalb County Schools.

Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware, Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens, and members Carol Kellam and LaToya Walker interviewed several candidates at a hotel in College Park.

They chose Edwards as the finalist, however, the other four members n Ericka Davis, Barbara Wells, Dr. Bob Livingston, and Linda Crummy n have continually insisted on the board conducting a national superintendent search.

Over the past 15 years, GSBA has conducted 141 superintendent searches, including recent ones for the Bulloch, Banks and Whitfield county school systems.