CLEARMONT — Members of Sheridan County School District 3’s board were tasked with filling out forms to determine what qualities they want in a boss.
In an all-virtual board meeting Wednesday evening, Wyoming School Board Association Executive Director Brian Farmer instructed board members to fill out forms regarding their priorities when determining a suitable superintendent for SCSD3, as the state agency helps the small district with the search to replace former Superintendent Charles Auzqui, who resigned from his position June 2021 for the same leadership role in Johnson County School District 1. Interim Superintendent Boyd Brown started in his role shortly after.
“Each of you will have an opportunity to fill out the characteristics and qualifications survey,” Farmer told the board. “And it’s really important that each of you do this independently.”
Farmer said completing the forms independently helps his staff understand “where the board is at” and recognize differences in opinion of the board, which helps his staff in the process of finding a well-fitting administrator for the district.
“Five different surveys are what help us to define a profile for your ideal candidate,” Farmer said.
Farmer asked board members to return the surveys relatively quickly, with an Oct. 20 soft due date. Following the surveys, Farmer’s team hopes to advertise the vacancy Oct. 27, with the rest of the process as follows:
• Jan. 14: Applications due
• Jan. 19: Three to five finalists selected, contacted and interviews scheduled
• Jan. 26 through Feb. 10: Possible interview dates
• Announcement of superintendent: To be determined
• Superintendent begins: July 1, 2022 or sooner
All deadlines are subject to change, but Farmer said he believes the timeline will bode well for receiving a “good pool” of candidates.
Those candidates have been more male than female, Farmer told board members Wednesday.
“The profession still does have kind of that white male dominance, but particularly, I think we want to be sure we have the best possible pool to look at,” Farmer said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to encourage you to seek the best fit.”
He said the school board association has received candidates from business, all levels of kindergarten through 12th-grade education and all parts of the nation, but they still aim at finding candidates that best fit the area, including its rural nature and proximity to larger city amenities. Several successful candidates come from the region, Farmer said, and have ties to Wyoming.
The current superintendent salary totals $115,104 in SCSD3, while the average salary from comparable districts totals $112,644 and the average Wyoming superintendent salary totals $141,525. SCSD3 board members agreed to advertise not less than $106,000 based on the district’s salary schedule and barring experience and other factors.
Farmer said not to expect 100 applications to roll in for the district position, as searches for similarly sized districts resulted in maybe two dozen applicants or as few as 12 or 15 total.
“To be realistic about it, it’s a tough job,” Farmer said. “Not a lot of people want it. Wyoming can be a great place to live, but it takes the right person to live here, and so while it is sometimes disheartening to end up with 15, 18 applicants or 24 applicants, the reality is you’re looking for the one right one. You’re looking for the one that is the right fit for your district.”