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December 12, 2013

Board meets with superintendent search firm

Knoxville — Final interviews for the job of Knoxville Schools' Superintendent are scheduled to take place Jan. 27, with two candidates to be interviewed all day (one each day) on Jan. 29-30. 

As we've reported, Superintendent Randy Flack is retiring at the end of this school year, after over 20 years of service to the district. Search from G. Tryon and Associates will be paid up to $9,720 to assist the board in a search for his replacement. 

The Knoxville School Board met with representatives from G. Tryon and Associates search firm Wednesday night. The firm has conducted meetings with four separate focus groups to gauge which traits the community is looking for in a new superintendent. Groups include one for the board, parents, support staff, administrators and teachers. 

Those involved were asked to assign a numerical value to 35 traits, based upon the level of importance. (See leadership survey attachment.) This information was used to develop a leadership profile to be used during the search process. 

The focus groups identified visibility, accessibility and approachability as their highest expectations from a new superintendent. Morals, honesty, integrity were closely behind. Headings on the leadership profile include high expectations and a focus on student achievement, an effective, visionary leader, building trust and positive relationships, effective communication, fiscal responsibility and student advocacy.

Experience as a superintendent is something the board chose to leave off of the profile. They were told that half of the potential applicants would be lost if experience was a requirement. Board member Andrew Schmidt said he is more interested in someone who has displayed leadership than someone who just has experience. Board member Mike Moats added that experience may be a factor when determining the final few candidates. 

"I think Andrew summed it up best," Board Vice President Mike Helle said. 

Strengths and weaknesses about the school district and the community of Knoxville overall were also identified. The search firm representatives felt that the focus groups were upbeat about the district and community. They believe this positivity will help attract quality applicants to Knoxville. 

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