Search Begins For New R-I Superintendent
April M. Fronick • Editor
The search is underway for a new superintendent at the Bowling Green R-I School District as Mike Gray has tendered his resignation and accepted a position with the Montgomery County School District.
Gray made the announcement last week. The board voted 6-1 to accept his resignation with Robbie Scott voting against.
The R-I board needs to have a new superintendent in place by July 1 which abbreviates the search process. Generally a superintendent search begins in September or October. The board met with a Missouri School Board Association consultant on Monday to go over the search guidelines to get the process underway.
The district will begin advertising the position this week. The application deadline was set on May 14. The board agreed to meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 16 to go over the list of potential candidates and narrow the field. Interviews will be performed by the board on May 23-24.
The board was informed that while this is somewhat late to begin a superintendent search, a slate of around 25 applicants could be expected. It was further noted the board may have to use an interim or part-time superintendent until a suitable candidate is found. The MSBA consultant who met with board members on Monday pointed out that promoting from within the district may be a viable option.
Board members were asked to fill out a survey of what characteristics they would like to see out of the next superintendent and some of the problems the district has faced. Based on that information, MSBA will assist the district in narrowing the field of candidates.
Board members were reluctant to lock in a salary range or contract length. The board agreed to develop a salary and contract commensurate upon experience.
It was pointed out that an individual with years of experience may not be interested in a single-year contract. Roger Colbert pointed out the board has expressed interest in offering a multiple-year contract to entice an individual to a position. He added that everything is subject to change based on the individual.
Bob Shaw indicated an interest in getting an individual who will have longevity with the district. He pointed out that in nine years on the school board, this will be the fourth superintendent in that time span.
In was noted that candidates will likely know what kind of salary range to expect at a district the size of Bowling Green’s. The MSBA official also remarked the average stay for a superintendent at a district is 3.5 years.
Gray said the decision to leave the R-I District is bittersweet.
“The staff and the kids here are wonderful. It was a tough decision,” he said.
After moving here four years ago, Gray said it was his plan to continue working for three or four more years before retiring. He added that his plans changed when his contract was not renewed in January. Gray was given a two-year contract when he was hired and the following year he received a one-year extension. His current contract was not due to expire until June 30, 2012. Because the board opted against extending that contract into 2013, he decided to seek employment elsewhere.
When asked about the decision not to offer Gray a contract extension earlier this year, then-board president Linda Luebrecht indicated she was not in favor of multiple-year contracts. Colbert echoed her sentiments and noted multiple-year contracts are not designed to protect school districts. He added that districts have been forced to “buy out” contracts and did not want to see the R-I District put in that position.
Gray will be taking a superintendent position at Montgomery County. The position will come with a salary increase, but Gray was quick to point out that was not the reason he was leaving. He added that he’s enjoyed his time at Bowling Green and feels enormous strides have been taken financially and educationally to improve the district.
Gray will remain with the district until June 30, 2011.