Fort Worth trustees working on timeline to hire superintendent

07/08/2014 4:28 PM

07/08/2014 4:29 PM

School board members are ready to roll up their sleeves and look for a new superintendent, under a timeline that calls for hiring one by early next year.

“By Feb. 1, we could really have somebody sitting in that chair,” interim Superintendent Pat Linares said.

She replaced Superintendent Walter Dansby, who resigned abruptly after a critical board evaluation.

“The school board is committed to finding the finest possible superintendent in the shortest amount of time,” board President Norman Robbins said.

Linares provided the board with a timeline that shows a finalist announced as early as Dec. 9 and a final board vote for the top candidate as early as Jan. 13.

Robbins characterized the superintendent search as “the most important thing that we do as a board.”

It’s also an opportunity for trustees to bond as a board, he said.

“When you work together to find a person that shares your interests, it tends to bring everyone together,” he said.

Another key component to finding a good superintendent, he said, will be to gather input from the community.

Under the timeline:

On July 15, the board is expected to discuss procedures for selecting a national search firm at its regular meeting. On Aug. 12, a firm would be selected from about a half-dozen. The firm is expected to vet the candidates, conduct background checks and have communitywide meetings, Linares said.

In September, board members would meet with the firm to develop a profile with the characteristics of a good superintendent.

In October and November, the timeline calls for interviewing top candidates and visiting the candidates’ school district or districts.

Dec. 9 would be the day the public learns the name of the new superintendent. A contract would be finalized by January.

By law, the board must wait 21 days from the date it announces a top candidate before it finalizes a contract. The period expires Dec. 30.

Linares, 57, started as interim superintendent June 16. The former Fort Worth deputy superintendent, who retired in 2010, is being paid $150,000 under a six-month contract approved by the board. The contract expires in mid-December, and Linares has said she is not interested in the permanent job.

The new leader would be Fort Worth’s 23rd permanent superintendent. The district’s first superintendent, Alexander Hogg, was hired in 1882.

Dansby, 63, is on school-related leave with pay and benefits and will serve as an ambassador for public relations for the school district, according to his retirement agreement and release.

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