By BOB OLIVER
HEIGHTS — The District 7 Board of Education is looking to introduce a new superintendent for the district before July 1, the beginning of the next academic year.
Members of the D7 Board and representatives from the Metropolitan Detroit Bureau of School Studies, the firm hired by the board to help find a new superintendent, discussed the goals of the search and a prospective timeline to a group of district employees and a few residents at a forum held in the media center at Polk Elementary School, 4651 Polk St., Thursday.
The search is to find a replacement for outgoing Supt. Jeffrey Bartold, who announced earlier this year that he plans to retire at the end of July.
Bartold has been the superintendent at D7 since 2006 and prior to that served as the district’s business manager, a role he has occupied the last two years as the district has worked to cut operational costs and lift itself out of a $1.4 million deficit.
MDBSS Executive Director Tony Marasco said it was important to hold a public meeting about the superintendent search because community involvement will be “crucial” to finding the right fit for the district.
He also said a survey MDBSS placed on the district’s website was designed to gauge what is important to residents and district employees in the applicant search.
“The applicants need to be the right fit for the district and by talking to the community we get an understanding of what qualities are the most important,” Marasco said. “We can also base our candidate questions off of the information we pull out of these surveys.”
Marasco said the group would begin going through the completed surveys soon and that the information gathered from them would be discussed with the school board at its May 5 meeting, which is also when MDBSS will return to help the board by having a study session on how to interview the potential candidates.
Following that meeting, which will be a closed session where the candidate names are not disclosed, a first round of interviews with five or six candidates will take place May 13 and 14, which MDBSS Executive Director Carl Weiss said would be conducted at public hearings.
The candidate pool would then be reduced to one or two and the final selections will be brought back for a second interview and will deliver a 10- to 15-minute presentation on a topic of the choice before fielding questions from the board.
“After this second interview session the board will deliberate and decide if there is a candidate they are interested in pursuing and that they want to make an offer to,” Weiss said.
He added that if at the end of the search the board was not satisfied with any of the candidates than MDBSS could appoint an interim superintendent while the search is continued.
“We only want to bring someone in here if they are going to be successful,” Weiss said.
D7 Board President Lori Fujita previously said the board hopes to have a new superintendent hired by the beginning of June and in place by the beginning of July in time for the 2014-15 fiscal and academic year and to give them transition time with Bartold before he leaves his position.
Weiss said at the forum that the goal is to conduct both rounds of interviews in May, which would give the board the opportunity to offer a contract to a potential candidate at its board meeting June 2.
“That would give the board time to get introduced to the candidate and give the candidate time with Bartold before he retires,” Weiss said.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)