The Minneapolis school board still plans to have a new superintendent by this summer.
In a meeting Tuesday, board members discussed a timeline and next steps in the tumultuous search for a new leader.
The meeting originally was scheduled so the board could discuss the candidacy of interim superintendent Michael Goar, who emerged as the preferred candidate after the board voted to reject its initial candidate, Sergio Paez. But Goar withdrew his bid for the job on Saturday, leaving the board to rethink its search.
Despite the protracted search, the nine-member board still believes it is on track to meet its goal to have a superintendent in place by July.
“The main difference here is how we get from applications to the three finalists,” Board Chairwoman Jenny Arneson said.
The board wants to ditch its national search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, and hire a different executive search firm.
Arneson and vice chairwoman Kim Ellison put together a proposed timeline for the board. This time around the board would not release the names of six semifinalists, as it did late in 2015. Instead, a committee would present a slate of three finalists.
“This is just a starting point,” Ellison said.
“Let’s talk about some of the changes we would make to this.”
The school board will have a special meeting on Feb. 16 to vote on a new timeline and process.
Before then, the board will host a community forum to hear what people want to see in this new search.
Goar will remain as interim superintendent.
New selection committee
The board wants a hiring committee comprised of four board members. Arneson and Ellison proposed selecting three more people from outside the district to serve on the committee. They “will be broadly respected in the areas of educational leadership, government or public affairs.”
Board member Rebecca Gagnon said it is unclear how those people will be selected.
Several board members spoke of the importance of engaging community members in this renewed process. When the board originally narrowed down its candidates, it held several community forums for the public to meet the finalists.
The board also wants to make itself available to meet with community members.
Board member Siad Ali said the board needs to slow down and thoroughly engage parents, teachers and others in the new search.
“We have to unite for the sake of the children and do a good job this time,” Ali said.
Recognition of Goar
Goar had been the presumed front-runner since the board voted unanimously two weeks ago against Paez, its preferred candidate.
Board members said they did not believe people could rally behind Paez after allegations surfaced that staff members at a school in his former district in Massachusetts physically abused students.
But as the board was set to vote Jan. 12 about giving the job to Goar, protesters stopped the meeting and called for the board to restart its search.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Arneson recognized Goar for his “dedicated service to our students.”
“You have earned my respect,” Arneson said.
The crowd of about 40 people applauded Goar.
“You might want to be careful,” Goar told Arneson. “With all the praises I get I might change my mind.”