Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre school district’s search for a new superintendent is moving into its next phase, with a planning meeting scheduled Tuesday. Havre Superintendent Dennis Parman has accepted a position as deputy superintendent for State Superintendent Denise Juneau. Parman is completing his term as Havre superintendent this year and will start his state position July 1. Parman said the Havre school board plans to hire Missoula attorney Elizabeth Kaleva, an education attorney who specializes in superintendent searches and is in the final phases of those searches for several school districts. “She just completed assisting Polson in hiring its superintendent,” and is also in the final stages helping the River School district in Simms hiring a new superintendent,” Parman said. Parman added the timing in a search for a new leader of the Havre district is good, with the rest of the school year open for the search and only a few districts hiring, with those near closing. “In terms of timing, now is the right time,” Parman said. Parman is also working on a document he is calling the blue book, which will list the projects and priorities of the district. That will allow a new superintendent to start with a clear direction for the district, which could be adjusted as the new superintendent learns more about the policies and needs of the district, he said. That document will be open for public review, he added. “It allows the school board to hold everyone accountable,” Parman said. He said the school board looked at two main options, hiring Kaleva or going through the Montana School Board Association. Price and timing influenced that decision, he said. Kaleva, who is preparing a contract for the board’s consideration, in her proposal had a top charge of $5,000, Parman said. The MSBA started at $5,500. Another consideration was the start of the legislative session. Parman said the MSBA representative who generally conducts the searches for the board, Bob Fogel, also handles governmental affairs and is likely to be spending most of his time in Helena during the session, Parman said. He said he presented the board, at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 6, with a list of priorities he compiled through his experience and by viewing information about superintendent searches by other districts. The first things that will have to be done to start the search are establishing an application criteria, what will be on the application itself; setting a salary range for the position; reviewing and revising the job description for the position as needed; selecting the person or person’s to represent the district during the search possibly Kaleva; and to determine the expenses that would be paid to the candidates for their travel. Once those items are finalized, the next steps in Parman’s recommendations include selecting an advertising strategy, determining a screening schedule, establishing a process to conduct background and reference checks, and developing interview questions and establishing the interview process. Parman said the field is fairly open, with Butte the largest school looking for a superintendent the application period for that closed last week and Corvallis the next largest. The application period for that position was scheduled to end last Friday. “It’s a prime time to start a search,” Parman said. He said there has already been interest shown in the position, which unintentionally was advertised statewide with the announcement he would take the position in the state Office of Public Instruction. “I’ve had some questions from superintendents around the state,” Parman said. He added that the good reputation Havre and the Havre school district generally has also will help raise interest in the position. He said the position of the trustees has, from the beginning, been to conduct a search. Any potential candidates already employed by the Havre district also are welcome to apply, he added. Parman, who came to Havre as assistant superintendent 12 years ago, took the superintendent’s position two years ago on an interim basis after Kirk Miller left to take over as superintendent in Bozeman. Parman and the school board later agreed that he would keep the position on a permanent basis, eliminating the interim part of his title.