August 23, 2021 Summary

HIGHLIGHTS: Springer will post compiled responses from the desired qualities of the next superintendent survey (6:08); The 2007 Killion and 1999 Batagiannis searches involved community and teacher input (6:14)

Location: West Lafayette Intermediate School

6:00 Karpick turned the meeting over to Tom Austin from Administrator Assistance who led the forum. He invited those who had signed up in advance to speak. 

6:02 Troy Janes thanked the board for soliciting input from the community. He shared that he would like the board to hire a superintendent who recognizes that education is a partnership between community members and administrators, someone who is willing to listen to input from the community, provide information about the things the schools are doing with community resources, someone from outside the area who will come with fresh ideas and new perspectives and challenge the way we have done things.

6:03 I spoke next and thanked the school board for seeking community input in the superintendent search and then asked several questions about the process: (1) Will the school board publicly share the input received from the online survey of community input on qualities desired in the next superintendent? (2) Will the search committee include teachers and community members? (3) Why is the search on such a short timeline during a very busy time for superintendents? (4) Will teachers be allowed to give input on the final set of candidates?

6:05 Tom Austin responded to my question about the short search timeline. He shared that his company met with the school board at the end of July and proposed the timeline that is being used. He said that this is a typical timeline for a fall search. This is the tentative schedule:

    August 24th – the board will receive the electronic copies of the applications received

    August 30th – School board will let Administrative Assistance reps (Tom Austin and Gilbert Crimmins) know who they want to interview

    September 13-17 – First round of interviews

    September 27-October 1 – Second round of interviews

    October 4-8 – School board will meet with Administrative Assistance

He said that at some point the school board will determine their final candidates. This is not a set number and he thought it would likely be 2 or 3. I appreciate Tom Austin’s willingness to answer questions about the process. I am not clear if the final set of 2 or 3 candidates will be determined after the first round or after the second round of interviews. Either way, I hope the community will be introduced to the final set of candidates and I would like all West Lafayette teachers to be invited to meet with each of the final candidates and be invited to provide feedback on who they think would be the best superintendent for our school district. Even after hearing Tom Austin’s response, I am still worried that the short application period as the school year was beginning was not a good way to attract a large number of highly-qualified applicants. The January start date for the position also isn’t ideal. It appears that most superintendents start their position in the summer.

6:08 Springer responded to my question about the online survey. She said that the school board will leave the desired qualities in the next superintendent survey open for a few more days. The school board has received 289 responses so far. In a few days, she will compile the data and then will share it with the public on the website. 

6:09  Tom Austin said my other questions are good and said that he would like to give the school board time to prepare a response to those they have not yet answered. Tom Austin was respectful and encouraging of community input; it was much more inviting than a typical school board meeting.

6:10 Karpick then asked if anyone from the audience would like to speak. Tom Austin commented that he and Cummins have been involved in many superintendent searches and that it is rare to have a public forum and applauded those who were able to participate. 

6:12 Angie Janes stood up and shared that she appreciated this public forum and what it demonstrates about the school board’s desire to reach out to the community. In her view it is important that the future superintendent collaborate with community members, parents, teachers, and administrators. This collaboration should be striving for real quality education for all students, from the valedictorian to the special education student. She wants the school board to hire a superintendent with a history of leadership producing results for all types of students, being focused on what our students can achieve rather than just rankings.

6:14 Springer then responded to Tom Austin’s statement about it being rare for a school board to hold a public forum by saying that there has been a history of asking for community input in previous superintendent searches here. She served on the previous 2 superintendent hiring committees (Rocky Killion in 2007 and Stella Batagiannis in 1999) and in both of those searches they solicited input from the community. In 1999 they held forums at each of the schools and they broke up into small groups with 2 board members in each group to listen to community members. In 2007, the school board had community forums and provided a list of 20 superintendent qualities which they asked respondents to rank. I’m very happy that the school board has invited community input on the desired qualities of the next superintendent. I am disappointed that we have not yet heard anything about a search committee. The 2007 search committee included teachers, parents, and community members. The search committee evaluated candidates and made recommendations to the school board. I hope that this school board will also be interested in seeking input on the candidates, especially from our teachers. 

6:17 Deanna Watson from the Journal and Courier asked Springer for the number of responses they received from their survey back in 2007. Springer said she could not remember. Karpick said he was also involved in the superintendent search in 2007. He said that it was a different type of survey and he didn’t know the numbers either. Both Karpick and Springer said they were pleased with the number of responses they have received so far.

6:18 Tom Austin shared that once the school board determines who they want to hire, there are still several steps that they have to do before the actual hire takes place. The school attorney has to develop a contract and they have to post that contract on the website as well as have a public hearing. Their goal is to hire the new superintendent on November 8th with a start date on January 1, 2022. This seems like an unusual time to hire a superintendent because we would be asking the new superintendent to leave his or her current job half way through the academic year.

6:20 Karpick adjourned 

Future Meetings (calendar link)

  • Thursday, August 26 at 6:30 pm at WLIS (work session for the budget, public is invited to attend)
  • Tuesday, September 7 at 6:30 pm at WLIS (regular school board meeting)

Streaming: WLCSC Board Meeting 08/23/2021The sound worked great! It was nice to be able to hear everyone clearly. 

Attendance: 7 of 7 School Board Members (Yue Yin, Alan Karpick, Karen Springer, Bradley Marley, Thomas Schott, Rachel Witt, Amy Austin) and Tom Austin and Gilbert Crimmins from Administrator Assistance in the front and in the audience were some parents, union leaders, media, a couple administrators, and Michael Pettibone, Interim Superintendent

This is not the official minutes from the school board meetings. I am a parent of WLCSC students and my thoughts are given in italics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: