Richland School Board hopes to have new superintendent by mid-April

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 8, 2013 

The Richland School Board wants to have a new superintendent hired by mid-April, as long as there is a qualified applicant for the job.

That gives board members just a little more than two months to hire a search firm, review applications, interview candidates and check their backgrounds.

The estimated timeline is about half the amount of time the board took three years ago when they hired Superintendent Jim Busey, who recently was fired.

"This is doable but it would require us to meet on a very regular timeline," said board member Rick Donahoe during a special public meeting Thursday.

Board members plan to hire a search firm by Feb. 21 and want immediately to advertise the search in state publications. However, Chairman Rick Jansons said the board's desire to have a new superintendent hired for the next school year doesn't guarantee there will be one.

"We're not going to settle," Jansons said.

Busey was fired Jan. 22 after an investigation revealed he conducted two inappropriate relationships using his district email and cellphone. One of those relationships was with a district employee. The board said Busey violated the morality clause in his contract.

The board and other district administrators said they are aware of the difficulties with conducting such a quick search. Acting Superintendent Rich Puryear said spring break will fall in the middle of the process and could slow the process.

But board members said they needed to act fast to have any chance of finding a qualified superintendent.

"To the administrators here, if you know someone qualified, now would be the time to encourage them to apply," Jansons said.

The board reviewed advertising materials to send out to prospective applicants, as well as discussed the timeline and a draft agreement they would want with the search firm hired to help with the process.

A short list of candidates would be due to the board from the search firm by mid-March, according to the draft agreement. Initial candidate interviews would be conducted during public board meetings with the entire interview process wrapping up by the end of March.

Board members also discussed what they specifically are looking for in a new superintendent.

Jansons said he is interested in a candidate's vision for the district because its schools and students are performing well and that needs to be maintained.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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