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
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.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.
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.
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.