Q&A on the Hunt for Ladue Schools' Next Superintendent
School board is using the expertise of a national search firm to help find the district's next superintendent of schools. We talked to Dr. James C. Christman, the firm's representative.
The Ladue School District has engaged the services of a national search firm to help find its next Superintendent. The firm of McPherson & Jacobson, Omaha, NE is busy gathering data from focus groups of students, parents, administrators, teachers and stakeholders.
All of this data will help the Ladue School Board make an informed decision when the end of February rolls around.
One of the first duties of the new superintendent will be hiring a new principal at Horton Watkins High School, replacing Bridget Hermann, who resigned earlier this year.
Patch caught up with James C. “Chris” Christman, a department chair from Pittsburgh State University (Kansas), representing the search firm with this project.
Patch.com: Where do you live, and what do you teach?
Dr. Christman: I live in Carl Junction, MO, (near Joplin) and I teach leadership classes, students who want to become superintendents some day.
Patch: What is the core of business of the firm in Omaha?
Christman: We specialize in assisting school boards with protocols and the hiring of district superintendents.
Patch: And how is Ladue doing in its search for a new superintendent?
Christman: Quite well. We are right on schedule. We had a great day, visiting with a variety of focus groups. We started the day visiting with high school students. If they are representative of the type of students Ladue has, everyone should be very proud of them.
They took their charge very seriously about being involved in the process.
We met with the classified staff; secondary teachers and we are conducting two community meetings.
Patch: What is your primary charge?
Christman: Basically, we ask three questions: Tell us the good things about the Ladue district. The reason we do this is because we found that districts have to market themselves. As good as Ladue is, we are trying to attract the top candidates. Why would someone want to come to Ladue if they live somewhere else.
The next question we ask: If you were going to hire the next superintendent, which qualifications, which skills would you be looking for.
And the last question we ask: Are there any issues the superintendent should be aware of to hit the ground running.
Patch: And what are these groups looking for?
Christman: Certainly someone who is visible; a recognized leader who will provide a vision for the future to make Ladue an outstanding, innovative district and has a plan to get there and someone who can make Ladue as good as they can be.
There are some high expectations and that comes from the teachers and the community as well. The students have high expectations of themselves too.