The East Valley School District will wait until October to begin a search for a new superintendent.
The school board unanimously picked Northwest Leadership Associates of Liberty Lake to lead the search.
During a special meeting Monday, the board heard from McPherson & Jacobson – the search firm the district used when it hired former Superintendent John Glenewinkel.
Board chair Mike Novakovich said that firm quoted them a fee of $11,500 not including expenses, such as employee travel, long-distance phone calls, reference checks and advertising.
“McPherson & Jacobson ended up being a little bit more expensive,” Novakovich said. Northwest Leadership Associates quoted a fee of $12,800 which would include its office’s expenses. Neither firm quoted a price that would include travel for any candidate the board wished to interview in person.
Novakovich said McPherson & Jacobson were willing to begin a search right away. He said board members asked about the quality and the number of candidates the board could find at this time of year. They were told there may be a few less than if the search was conducted in October, but not bad candidates.
“Obviously, they’re not going to recommend anybody who isn’t qualified,” Novakovich said.
At the board’s meeting last week, Dennis Ray, president and owner of Northwest Leadership Associates, recommended the board wait until October, which resonated with Novakovich.
“The main thing, they came with the recommendation of, ‘here’s what we would do,’ ” Novakovich said.
He also appreciated that Northwest Leadership was a local firm and were aware of the changes going on in East Valley.
Board member Mitch Jensen said he would have preferred using McPherson & Jacobson because they are a national firm, but voted for Northwest Leadership since he felt it was made clear the board would not be interviewing any more firms.
Interim Superintendent Tom Gresch’s contract expires June 30. With the search for a new superintendent postponed until fall, the board has the option of extending Gresch’s contract – Novakovich said Gresch is willing to consider that – or using Northwest Leadership to find a new interim.
Jensen did appreciate the decision to wait until October to start the search.
“We have to do a real search,” he said. “It would be irresponsible, at best, if we didn’t do a full-fledged search.”