Here We Go Again

Another “nationwide search,” another applicant right under their nose. When will state and local governments stop this expensive charade?

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4 responses to “Here We Go Again”

  1. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    It’s not that simple, Will.

    We just finished this insane drama, here in Charlottesville, over our outgoing superintendent. The story is too lengthy and sordid to relate here, but suffice it to say that she was hired last year, promptly became reviled by parents and teachers alike, and turned out to have a history of working in school systems and winding up involving them in lawsuits. Because she’s black, there were cries of racism, and then things got really ugly. She ended up resigning in April in exchange for a $291,000 payoff.

    In the midst of this, Albemarle County superintendent Kevin Castner announced his resignation. (That announcement came just two days before the $291,000 settlement to the newly-former Charlottesville superintendent was made public.)

    Some parents in the area concluded that clearly the net needs to be cast a lot wider, so that we get the absolute most talented, capable candidate, somebody with a lot of experience as a superintendent. Other parents said that talent isn’t as important as accountability, and that the lesson is that we should get somebody local who has surely never been a superintendent, but can probably handle it. (I count myself among the latter.)

    Albemarle wasn’t about to get caught up in the kerfuffle that Charlottesville had found itself in, and knew that they had to satisfy both crowds. So they launched a nationwide search and ultimately selected a local woman. Everybody’s happy.

    Was it a waste of money? Maybe. But whatever the search cost, I’ll bet it was less than $291,000.

    For those curious, I put together a history of Charlottesville superintendents. It’s a bad scene.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    This just in from the Winchester Star, Iowa-Based Search Firm Tagged by School Board

    Is this a waste of money? Don’t know. They don’t mention how much it will cost in the article.

    I agree with Will. If the search firm comes back with a final list of three and two are local, or even regional residents, it’s a poor use of money.

    I am not positive, but aren’t most search firms paid a percentage of the salary their “candidate” receives? For example, if the person they find signs a contract for $125,000/year the firm will receive $12,500 if it’s paid 10% of the salary? Who knows, maybe it’s 15% or 20%.

    Anyone know how this works?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    In the commercial world (for jobs without the cache of school superintendent), headhunters can get 35%-40% of the first year’s salary.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, Virginia Beach has cast a nationwide net with a search firm since Jenney (the horse’s patoot) announced he was leaving. (Funny how he left right after completing his MBA on the city’s dime.)

    Several times the city has been on the verge of hiring a real loser in this search cycle – each time we find out in the nick of time about all of their rotten baggage.

    Maybe the search firms and the school boards in question are just incompetent.

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