REED CITY — The professional, educational and personal qualities of the next superintendent at Reed City Area Public Schools is becoming clear.

Members of the RCAPS Board of Education created a profile of the qualities and characteristics of candidates they want to see apply to become the district's next superintendent during a special meeting on May 25.

RCAPS Superintendent Tim Webster announced his retirement, effective June 30, during a special meeting on May 18.

With guidance from Michigan Association of School Boards Search Consultant Rodney Green, board members were able to review results of an online survey and face-to-face discussions with educators, support staff and administrators, narrow down the range of criteria used to create a superintendent candidate profile.

Green explained to board members there were 78 responses to the survey, and nearly 100 in all who provided input on what leadership, educational and experience the district's next superintendent should have.

"The results show through the survey and face-to-face talks, the candidate should have teaching experience and some experience as a building principal, with at least a master's degree," he explained as they reviewed the responses. "While all areas are important when it comes to budget development, curriculum, community relations and human resources, people generally think the budget is the most important."

Green and board members meticulously went through the candidate profile comprised from survey responses, going over several characteristics, noting the candidate should have a collaborative decision-making style; effective leadership experience; skills to encourage development of administrators and staff; effective communication will all district employees; and effective management of budget and curriculum.

"You're not looking for a budget director or curriculum director," Green pointed out. "But you want someone who experience in both."

Green encouraged board members to phrase the superintendent job posting to fit the district's need.

"When it comes to collaborative leadership, it's nice to take everyone's thoughts and ideas into consideration," board president Derrick Bookwalter explained. "But, there's going to be a time when a tough decision has to be made and the superintendent will have to make it, regardless of input."

Green told the board to mold the job posting how it wants, as it will benefit members when the time comes to interview candidates.

"The posting tells the those applying what type of candidate you're looking for," he said. "Then from the posting, I will work with you to help formulate questions to ask the candidates."

Once the profile was created, Green and board members also discussed what the superintendent's contract should and shouldn't include. Finding some irregularities, he said he would use use the most up-to-date contract wording the MASB has to create a contract they can go over together at a workshop that will take at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 23.

"You do not want to go through this entire process only to have everything fall apart during the last step, the contract negotiations," he said. "By that point, I'm going to be in contact with the candidates and make sure if they're going to be offered a contract, they would accept the position."

Green also pointed out the board also needed to be mindful of the time frame they are working with, as Webster is retiring June 30 and the board would like the new superintendent to start July 1.

"You may have to hold the discussion about having an interim superintendent if we haven't quite reached the point of hiring a new superintendent," he said. "It can be someone in name and it could only be for a few days. It's just better to be ready, just in case.

"The thing to remember is you want to do the right thing on the hiring. You don't want to be pushed by a deadline."

The RCAPS board has set this timeline for the superintendent search.

  • Thursday, June 15: candidate applications are due at noon;
  • Friday, June 23: Board of education workshop at the Reed City Depot to screen applications and select interview questions.
  • Tuesday, June 27: Initial interviews are scheduled to run from 3 to 10 p.m. at the Reed City Depot, with board members expected to select finalists;
  • Thursday, June 29: Final interviews will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Reed City Depot, with a selection of the preferred candidate to follow. Board members also hope to approve a contract, if possible.
  • Saturday, July 1: The new superintendent begins, if possible.