TCU hires firm to help with superintendent search


The Tri-City United School Board accepted the resignation of superintendent Matt Helgerson at a special meeting, Monday, March 25, and then began the search for his replacement by entering an agreement with the same service used in previous superintendent searches.
The board approved the motion 7-1, with Kevin Krohn casting the only “nay” vote. Board Chairperson Liz Krocak was absent from the meeting. 
In his resignation letter to the board, Helgerson said the experiences he has had in the Le Center, Montgomery-Lonsdale and Tri-City United School Districts have been “extremely gratifying personally and professionally. Together we have accomplished great things for the students and families of the district.”
He added that he was also proud of his team, with whom he loved working, and promised that he will continue to give his 100 percent until his last day with the district, June 30, 2012. He called the decision to leave for the Jordan School District bittersweet, but that it was a move made for both professional and personal reasons.
Board member Amy Barnett thanked Helgerson for his dedication to the school district and said she knows he has given more than 100 percent. She added  that she knew the day would come when he would leave because he’s “that good”. Still, she added she wished he could have stayed with the district just a little longer.
Board member Kevin Krohn cast the only opposing vote and said Helgerson should have fulfilled his contract with TCU. 
“It's a matter of allowing someone out of a binding contract. There are still 15 months left in his current TCU contract,” Krohn said. “I felt it was in the best interest of the district to enforce the contract.” 
Superintendent search
During a work session before the board meeting, Harlow Hanson of the South Central Service Cooperation (SCSC) presented information and an aggressive schedule on how they would help TCU search for a new superintendent. 
Hanson explained the history of SCSC and that its search program is popular among school districts. He said if TCU opted to hire a firm, it could cost the district upward of $15,000, but because TCU is a member of the South Central Service Cooperative, the district will have to pay only for mileage and minor expenses. 
Hanson said Ed Waltman of SCSC would lead the search. Waltman is familiar with the area and the process of looking for a superintendent. He was the SCSC consultant that Montgomery-Lonsdale School District used to hire Dr. Corey Lunn in 2007.
Hanson presented the board with an aggressive timeline:
March 26 to April 5: board planning, engaging the community through group meetings, and creating a profile of attributed for the new superintendent.
March 26 to April 12: Advertise, recruit and accept applications.
April 12 to 24: Screen candidates and complete list of first round of candidate interviews. 
Board member Marsha Franek said she was “on the fence” with having SCSC pre-screen the applicants and thought maybe a committee of TCU members should do this. The board will examine this option.
April 29 to May 1: Conduct final interview and board offer.
Early May: Approve a new superintendent contract.
Hanson clarified who would make up the important community interview team. He said it would be comprised of four teachers (one from each building), two administrators, and four to six community members that would be chosen by the board. 
“It is important to have their perspective,” he said.
He said candidates will be looked at based on their experience and those who are classified as “emerging leaders”.
“We look at not only the experience of the superintendents, but we also have what we call ‘emerging leaders’ those individuals who have a good, solid background and administrative levels that we feel might be suitable,” he said.
Helgerson encouraged the board to allow the public to interview the final candidates. He said this way the board will see if the candidates can handle working with the public.
“This process weeds them out,” Helgerson said. “This job needs that (ability to answer public questions) in a superintendent.”