Monday, April 23, 2012

Fairfield hires Charlotte firm for supt search

Hope that Broad Superintendents Academy experience isn't part of the search criteria. From reporter James Denton:

After more than two hours in executive session Tuesday night, the Fairfield County School Board voted unanimously to hire a firm to spearhead their search for a new superintendent.

Board Chairwoman Andrea Harrison said Wednesday that the Board had selected Coleman Lew and Associates of Charlotte to lead their search for new leadership, and that the District should have the position posted by Friday. The Board met with the firm’s president, Kenneth D. Clark Jr., during Tuesday’s closed session.

“Coleman Lew gave a very exceptional presentation,” Harrison said. “Hopefully, they will be able to help us avoid some of the pitfalls of the past.”

Harrison said the Board was actually one step ahead of the game, having already completed a candidate profile, upon which Coleman Lew would base their search.

According to the company’s Web site, Coleman Lew and Associates was founded in 1979 and focuses primarily on searches for corporate executives. While the firm has, in the past, successfully completed searches for college presidents, the Web site states, and is currently conducting a search for an executive director of a charter school, Harrison said this would be their first search for a superintendent.

“They look more for leadership skills and management skills,” Harrison said, “but our profile includes superintendent experience. I have confidence they’ll bring in someone who’s a good leader but also has superintendent experience.”

Harrison said the Board hopes to have the position filled by July 1, and because of that sense of urgency, Coleman Lew will be expediting their services. While the District will post the position and recruit candidates, Harrison said, Coleman and Lew would cull through the resumes and whittle down the list of prospective candidates.

The typical fee charged by Coleman Lew, Harrison said, is 30 percent of the salary of the position. But, since the firm is not providing the entire array of its services, the cost to the District will be a flat fee based upon the amount of time spent. That figure has yet to be negotiated, Harrison said.

“Once they start sifting through resumes, that’s when the clock starts,” Harrison said. “I don’t think it (Coleman Lew) was a bad choice, but it might cost us a little bit more money. But the Board will try to constrain those costs as much as possible.”

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