Sunday, January 27, 2008

Superintendents grow scarce

Superintendent shortage?!? Hardly! Maybe if we didn't use three times the number we need, this "shortage" wouldn't exist. Sounds like the Stuporintendents have taken a recipe from the NEA Taxpayer Fleecing Cookbook: Create ridiculous overdemand through state mandate, add a dash of empty credentials to weed out qualified candidates, then bake taxpayers by demanding higher compensation.

There are more than enough qualified individuals, but not to meet the combination of inflated demand plus bureaucratic paper requirements. Many Superintendents couldn't run a lemonade stand in the private sector, which is why they often remain government employees/pensioners for life.

Don't buy for a minute that there's a danger of the private sector funneling these candidates off. The private sector doesn't want them.

The above was in response to the article below that was published in the Union Leader

Superintendents grow scarce
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

School districts are shopping long and hard for superintendents, as the pool of qualified candidates has dwindled in recent years.

"It's an extremely difficult job," said Ted Comstock, executive director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association.

"Many people who have the skills to manage a large district and a large budget also would have the skill set required for a job in the corporate world with greater remuneration," he said.

There are eight districts throughout the state searching for a superintendent. Most started the process in the fall and a few are expected to make offers soon.

"It's kind of a long process," said Hollis/Brookline Cooperative School Board member Webb Scales, whose district is narrowing its search. "It's a tough market."

Mark Joyce, executive director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, said the average tenure nationally of a superintendent is less than three years.

"One of the reasons for that is the tremendous complexity of that role and the many different bosses -- that legitimately are bosses -- of that job," said Joyce.

A former superintendent himself, Joyce said it used to be common for someone to remain in a school district 20 years, but he can't imagine that now.

Hollis/Brookline's search committee for SAU 41 plans to interview four finalists Thursday and Friday, bringing closure to a process that began in October.

"A number of years ago, we would have expected 40 applicants," said Scales. "I think we got 19, but the good news is from that we got nine or so candidates that we felt were qualified.

"We hope to have our choice by the end of next week," he said yesterday.

Manchester is late to the search party due to former Superintendent Michael Ludwell's unexpected resignation in mid-November.

One search committee disbanded this week and a replacement panel was named.

Paul DeMinico, the NHSBA consultant working with Manchester, told the school board he hopes to have 20 applicants before next Thursday's deadline.

City board members, however, are still trying to define qualities they hope to find in the next superintendent as other districts are poised to make job offers.

Three finalists for the SAU 16 job in Exeter will interview Monday, and board members say they could make an offer that night.

Raymond School District got a two-month jump on Manchester and will begin interviewing semifinalists next month.

Board chairman John Harman wouldn't disclose how many people applied for the SAU 33 job, but said he's happy with their qualifications.

He said a winnowing process to get to three finalists starts next week.

"The intent is we will complete the process and name a superintendent by our March elections," said Harmon.

Every job search NHSBA conducts is at least national in scope. "We have found candidates internationally sometimes," said Comstock.

A wide net is needed, he said, because baby boomer superintendents are retiring and a strong corps of replacements doesn't exist.

"The pool of candidates is much slimmer than it was even four or five years ago," he said. "There are fewer people who are looking to superintendency as a career."

SAUs also often find themselves competing with sister districts throughout New England, because candidates interested in moving here will shop several of the geographically small states.

"It does make it more difficult," said Comstock. "We tend to draw from the same pool."

Litchfield recently started its superintendent search, and school board members were told it could take five months to complete.

Mascenic, Sunapee and Wilton-Lyndeborough are also in the midst of school superintendent searches.

Quote of the Day - "The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government-union-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system. And losses were at least as important in weeding out failures as profits in fostering successes. Let government succor failures, and we shall be headed for stagnation and decline."
Milton Friedman

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