West Aurora board to hear superintendent profile Monday
By Kalyn Belsha email@example.com September 13, 2013 3:00PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:42AM
AURORA — Representatives of the search firm hired by West Aurora School District to help it find the next superintendent are reviewing the “hundreds and hundreds” of comments they’ve gathered to put together an ideal candidate profile.
When school board members get the summary report at their Monday meeting, they’re likely to hear that the next superintendent must have a mix of business and education experience, a respect for West Aurora traditions, the ability to link schools with corporate partners and a long-term vision for the district.
The new leader will replace outgoing Superintendent James Rydland, who is retiring in June after eight years with the district.
“I think it might have changed since Dr. Rydland was hired,” said parent Kelly Haymond, who represents Hall Elementary on the superintendent’s community advisory committee and attended an open forum Thursday. “We’re looking for like a CEO.”
Thomas Madden, a partner at the search firm School Exec Connect, said West Aurora had conducted the highest number of meetings, 31, to gather input about the new superintendent that he’d seen since he started doing searches two decades ago.
West Aurora held three open forums, each attended by a handful of parents, school staff and community members, as well as more targeted invite-only focus groups, which West Aurora spokesman Mike Chapin said were more highly attended.
According to Madden and Chapin, West Aurora collected input from teachers, school staff, principals, central office employees, directors, parents and boosters, community leaders, high school students and former school board members. The district held two open forums for staff, Madden said.
As of Friday, more than 100 people had filled out the online survey, Chapin said.
At each meeting and through the online survey the search firm gathered information about the desired qualities of the next superintendent, as well as the strengths of the district and the challenges West Aurora faces.
The report the search firm presents to the school board will outline common themes heard district-wide and will be used to recruit candidates.
Madden said he expected 40 to 50 people to apply for the position, many of whom will likely live in Illinois. Already 14 candidates have said they want the position, before the job description officially was posted, he added.
The school board plans to approve a new superintendent by early January.