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Frazee goes shopping for a superintendent

The Frazee-Vergas School Board has started the search for a new superintendent to lead the district.

A public meeting was held Tuesday evening, with the board discussing what they are looking for in a candidate, how to reach candidates and a timeline for hiring.

The meeting was just for discussion, though, and at the Dec. 10 regular meeting, the board will officially vote on the matter.

Though interim superintendent Chuck Cheney isn't full-time, he recommended the district hire a full-time superintendent.

"This is where you've been before, this is where you need to be," he said.

Plus, he added, superintendents aren't going to want to stay in a district where they only work part-time.

"You're setting yourself up for a rotating door."

Board member Jim Nelson also pointed out that though Cheney isn't technically full time, he's in the office more often.

"My wife likes me gone," Cheney said with a laugh.

Board member Steve Jepson said that even if there are some time periods where a part-timer could handle the workload, there are also times when someone needs to be on full time. For example, he said, is the extra work Cheney had to do regarding getting the referendum passed the last couple months.

All the board members present - Keith Janu was absent - agreed the district needs a full-time superintendent.

The group also agreed on the various qualities the district needs in a superintendent. Some of the key terms were personable, transparent, approachable, a strong leader, connected to the community, experienced, an effective communicator, a good listener and so on.

The candidate should have a grasp of the business side of the district, have grant writing capabilities and hold multiple licensures - though those aren't required either.

The board agreed that rather than hire someone to headhunt for a superintendent, the district would take care of the advertising and posting of the job.

"My feeling is to handle it internally," Board Chair Matt Bauer said.

"I'm confident we can work together" and accomplish the task, Steve Jepson agreed.

The district plans to advertise the position throughout Minnesota and North Dakota through school-related associations. They also plan to advertise locally and to send out flyers to every district in Minnesota.

Cheney said it's very common practice for districts with a top opening to create a flyer with information about the position, the district and the community and then send it out to all superintendents in each district throughout the state. He brought multiple samples he's gotten in just a short period of time.

Cheney agreed to have a couple mock ups for the Dec. 10 meeting for the board to take a look at and vote on.

The entire board will take part in the hiring process.

The tentative timeline for the process includes voting on the plan at the Dec. 10 meeting, followed by advertising for the position before Christmas, having applications due by the end of January and after screening applications, start interviews by mid-February.

If needed, a second round of interviews and-or site visits would be done at the beginning of March, a decision would be made by the middle of the month and by the April board meeting, the school board would take action on the contract.

The new superintendent would then start July 1.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.