The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Board is gearing up for a search for a new superintendent with the help of an outside consultant, and a new top administrator expected to be chosen by March or April of next year.
School Board members had a brief discussion about the search process Thursday, when board member Tina Lehnertz asked current superintendent Scott Hannon whether there would be a retirement in his future.
Sporting a grin and gesturing to the superintendent search timeline, Hannon told the board he “plan[s] to be doing something else on this date.”
Choosing a new superintendent has proven to be a difficult task in the past for District 861 leaders. After former superintendent Paul Durand’s contract was not renewed, Hannon — then an academic affairs director and former principal — took the position on an interim basis in July 2010. By January 2011 board members decided the district had waited too long to begin a recruitment process, and extended Hannon’s interim contract for 18 months.
As the new superintendent recruitment process drew closer, Hannon told the board he was unwilling to apply for the position within a process in which he would have to compete for the job but would stay on as superintendent if needed.
The search process began in late 2011, with initial interviews conducted in February of 2012. Just as the board was to narrow the list of candidates to finalists for final vetting, board members Steve Schild, Greg Fellman, Ben Baratto and Gary Shurson expressed preference for Hannon for the post. After learning the majority of the board preferred Hannon, each finalist withdrew from consideration. With a failed recruitment effort, the board voted 4-3 to offer Hannon the position.
During that recruitment effort, the board used an outside consultant at an original cost of $11,000 to assist with the search. The fee was ultimately reduced after the process did not produce a new chief administrator.
On Thursday, Human Resources Director Pat Blaisdell told the board that the selection of a new superintendent was one of the most important tasks the board would undertake and recommended a consultant be used in the recruitment effort.
The board is expected to begin soliciting community input on the characteristics sought in a new superintendent in the fall, then advertise for applications in late fall and early winter. A new superintendent would be chosen by March or April under the timeline, and he or she would start in the position on July 1, 2014.