Monday, March 28, 2011

BREAKING: BIPPS Offers Good Advice to School Boards on Superintendent Vetting

It's been a while since the Bluegrass Institute has issued any kind of advice for school board members - or anyone else for that matter - that wasn't dripping with bias, obfucation or thinly veiled political motivations.

But today BIPPS released tips for school board members who are looking for new superintendents, and they are worth considering. I only found two places where BIPPS allowed their biases to slip in. That's pretty good for them.

Superintendent hiring: Advice to school boards

  • Tip #1: Understand that some will hide problems – but information is out there

  • Tip #2: Research before hiring a search firm

  • Tip #3: Make some phone calls yourself

  • Tip #4: Check the newspapers

  • Tip #5: Resumes are critical – check out everything

  • Tip #6: Beware of Secrecy

  • Tip #7: Ask informed questions – be respectful, but understand that softball questions won’t help you

  • Tip #8: Never forget, this is YOUR responsibility, not a search firm’s, not the public’s

  • Tip #9: Consider other resources

  • Tip #10: Other considerations

  • Tip #11: NEVER FORGET: The focus is on student preparation for college and careers
BIPPS says,
Included are pointers on how to use the Internet to find out about an applicant’s past performance, along with ideas on how to use media sources and suggestions on informed questions to ask candidates to help determine what education reforms they have successfully undertaken.

Richard Innes, the institute’s education analyst, says a lack of due diligence on the front end of a hiring process can lead to embarrassment, and even resignations, later on.
Innes is exactly correct about this. In fact, BIPPS and KSN&C worked pretty well together, in 2007, when the Kentucky Board of Education locked in on hiring Barbara Erwin despite emerging evidence of an impending trainwreck. The Board believed Ray & Associates, their search firm instead of certain prophets of doom and it turned out that the prophets were right.

Here's the postmortem on the Erwin affair from C-J.

A subsequent state board had a similar problem in 2009, but followed one of Innes's tips. When a board member asked a certain blogger I know to look into a rumor about Commissioner finalist Dennis Cheek, that blogger was able to help the board avoid a substantial political problem.


Anonymous said...

Is the job of the moderator to tell us that Bluegrass Institute is biased? Or should we be left to make that decision on our own...Just thinking out loud.

Richard Day said...

My job? No. On the contrary, it is my privilege.