By Megan Kelley
Lake Orion Community Schools held their first workshop meeting of the new school year this past week, covering several topics that will be in the forefront of the board members’ minds for the foreseeable future.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rick Arnett spoke to the board regarding the process of searching for a new superintendent.
Superintendent Marion Ginopolis announced in late August that this would be her final school year as superintendent at Lake Orion.
This departure leaves the board with the duty to fill that role before the 2020-2021 school year.
“We’ve been given a gift of time,” said board President Birgit McQuiston. “We’re not in a super huge rush, it’s not happening in the next few months so, fortunate for us, we have a little bit of a luxury to be able to go methodically and thoughtfully and thoroughly through
The board unanimously agreed to use the services of a search firm in order to conduct their search and said they would like to be fully engaged in the process.
In using a search firm, the district would have to put together a Request for Proposal (RFP), which would outline what the district is looking for in a new superintendent.
Arnett fielded several questions from board members who had not been apart of a superintendent search before. Only two members of the current LOCS Board of Education have been a part of such a process in the past: Treasurer Jim Weidman and Trustee Steve Drakos.
As for the process itself, the board would provide Arnett with an RFP that he would then send to the search firms.
“Once they respond, then you would sit down as a board and determine how many of those you would like to interview, maybe two to three…depending on how many responses you get to the RFP. Then you have an opportunity to sit down with that search firm, they present their sales pitch…you have an opportunity to ask questions, it’s an interview,” said Arnett. “Then from there, you as a board would (make) a determination of which firm it is you would feel most comfortable moving forward with based on what you’ve heard, based on the level of service that they provide, what it is that your RFP called for. There’s a lot of development that takes place.”
Trustee Jake Singer voiced concerns with the district not having an agreement with a search firm already for situations that may arise seemingly out of nowhere.
“Every board, I think, should have something like this loosely agreed to just in case you have an emergency action where you have to hire a superintendent,” Singer said. “In my mind, I came into this thinking we should at least have our search firm in hand by December, and then we can get our training in January and solicit input. But I would like them to be telling us some of these things that happen afterwards and if we have them in hand by December then they’re like ‘yeah, I really would like to issue your job posting on this date,’ and if we don’t hire them until February and they’re like ‘oh yeah, you could have had your job posting out in February,’ it’s too late…it gives us flexibility.”
Arnett reiterated that the holiday’s are a very busy time of year, but if the board wanted to put out an RFP then, he could make that timeline work.
According to Arnett, allowing the firms two to three weeks to respond to the RFP should be an adequate amount of time to elicit a response.
“So that was the thought that if we send it in October we would have responses in early November,” said Singer. “There’s work on our side but that’s one of the things that as you’re saying, we would rather do that work early instead of running into a problem late. I just so want to use time as our advantage.”
Arnett informed the board that he would obtain a draft plan, distribute it to the board members and the board would discuss again at the next board meeting.