B-OPS School Board holds special meeting

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Now set to interview two candidates for half-time superintendent post



At a special Butterfield-Odin Public School (B-OPS) School Board meeting held Tuesday, April 11, board members agreed to interview two candidates for the half-time superintendent post.

One of those candidates, Ray Arsenault, has been serving the school district since March 1 as its interim half-time superintendent. The second is Dr. Jeff Walker of Wisconsin.

Gary Lee, of the Minnesota School Boards Association  (MSBA) was presented the superintendent candidates to the board. The MSBA has been assisting with the superintendent search. Three applications had been received, with the MSBA cutting the number of candidates to two.

With just two interviewees, those Q & As will be held on Tuesday, April 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m., in the Media Center. Arsenault will be interviewed at 5:35 p.m., with Walker’s interview beginning at 6:40 p.m. At 7:45 p.m., MSBA will compile the the information received from the answers to the questions. Beginning at 8:55 p.m., the school board will discuss information from the interviews, decide on a second round of interviews and questions, if needed, as well as schedule the steps necessary for the rest of the hiring process. All are open meetings. The times stated are approximate.

The MSBA had conducted an online superintendent search survey with school staff, with just 10 questionnaires completed and returned. The survey listed 21 specialized skills, with those completing the questionnaire asked to select the top six they believed that the next district superintendent should possess.

The top six specialized skills respondents focused on included:

  • Act with honesty and in an ethical manner in dealings with the school board, staff and community (response count of 10).
  • Familiar with state and federal education laws (response count of seven).
  • Knowledge of technology and web-based education curicular (response count of seven).
  • “People person” with proven abilities in human relations and communications (response count of seven).
  • Visible in the school district and accessible to the school board, staff, students parents and community (response count of seven).

Two additional specialized skills received a response count of five. They were – knowledge of and successful experience in school district management practices, along with, knowledge of an experience with special needs and diverse populations.

Discussing the interview process with board members was Harold Remme of the South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC).

Remme opened by reviewing the open meeting law, as all school board meetings related to a superintendent search must be open meetings. Included in the review were questions not to ask as related to protected categories as per non-discrimination laws, including indirect questions that may also touch on the protected categories. Indirect questions typically occur during follow-up questions.

He presented examples of questions permissible to ask – and not permissible to ask.

Board members then compiled a list of 21 questions to ask the pair of candidates, with the assistance of Lee and Remme.

Remme additionally advised the school board of what to “Do” – and “Don’t” – during the interview itself.

+ “Do” –

  • Focus on the positive attributes of candidates during public discussion rather than negative ones.
  • Judge candidates based on the school board’s pre-established criteria.
  • Treat the candidates they way you would want to be treated.

+ “Don’t” –

  • Go on individual fact-finding missions.
  • Let a special interest group shape the process.
  • Alienate any of the finalists.
  • Discuss the candidates in between interviews; save that discussion until that round of interviews is completed.

The tentative calendar for the selection process has Tuesday, May 9 scheduled as the date when a contract will be approved at a special board meeting. The selected superintendent will begin work with the district on July 1. The salary range for the position is $55,000 to $60,000.


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