Tim Eaton

Tim Eaton, field consultant with the Kentucky School Board Association, was selected to serve as an adviser for the selection of Rowan County’s next superintendent. (Photo by Megan Smedley)

The Rowan County Board of Education has hired a consultant to lead in the search for the next superintendent.

“I think it is important that we have some guidance in place so that we can make the best possible decision moving forward,” said Rick Whelan, board chair.

Whelan stressed his desire for transparency throughout the process.

Tim Eaton, field consultant with the Kentucky School Board Association, was one of two possible advisers.

Both candidates presented their strategy for the search process before the Board Thursday evening.

Eaton went through the process for hiring a superintendent, as well as what he would be able to contribute to the search.

Under state law, the Board is required to advertise the position for 30 days.

Eaton says a search generally takes around three months to complete.

“Everybody is not a fit everywhere,” said Eaton, regarding possible applicants for the superintendent position. “You have to find the right fit for your district.”

Consultants work with the district to establish a screening committee, which is made up of two teachers, one Board member, one principal, one parent, and one classified employee.

If the district has a minority population of 8 percent or more, a minority parent will be appointed to serve on the committee.

The screening committee generally recommends three to five applicants to the Board.

Eaton told the Board his services would come at a cost of $6,000 and 41 cents per mile for travel.

Phil Eason, superintendent services with the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, says school boards have the obligation and responsibility of selecting a quality superintendent.

He says in his role as consultant, he would partner with the Board to select an individual who meets the needs of the district.

He added that he would work with the Board to create a timeline, but says the Board should not be in a big rush just to hire the wrong person.

“No one is owed this position,” Eason said.

Eason says he would help the Board craft a personalized ad to screen initial applicants so that the committee would have a quality pool of candidates.

He recommended that the Board ask all employees to complete a survey about what they are wanting in a superintendent but recommendations from community members and parents should come directly to him.

Eason told the Board his services would come at a cost of $7,000, with no charge for mileage, but there were possible add-ons the Board could choose to purchase.

He added that his goal would be to have someone appointed to the position by mid-May.

The Board unanimously voted to hire Tim Eaton, with the Kentucky School Board Association.

“As a Board, we feel more comfortable with him,” said Whelan. “We think he is the best fit for our Board at this time.”

Danny Mabry, vice chair, added, “I just liked his answers better. I got the feeling he would represent us.”

There will be a special called Board meeting at the board of education office Wednesday at 6 p.m. for Eaton to conduct a planning meeting with the Board.

Megan Smedley can be reached at msmedley@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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