By Roger McKinney
NEOSHO, Mo. —
A meeting Thursday designed to solicit information from residents about the characteristics they want in a Neosho School District superintendent drew three participants.
John Boise, a consultant for the Missouri School Boards’ Association who scheduled the meeting, said it wasn’t unusual for such sessions to be sparsely attended. He said a survey had been sent home with students and is available on the district’s website at neoshopublicschools.net.
The previous superintendent, Richard Page, took a job with a school district in Arkansas. Alma Stipp, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, was chosen by the school board in May to serve as interim superintendent.
The board contracted with the state association to conduct the superintendent search.
Parent Susan Armstrong said the superintendent needs to be connected with the community.
“I would want someone who is willing to invest himself in the community and the school,” Armstrong said. She said the superintendent also should connect the school district with elderly residents.
“I was astounded about how much a superintendent has to know,” Cindy Norman, a former school board member, said about the job requirements. She said the person must know the law, be an educational leader and be a visionary.
She said that in Neosho, the superintendent must be fiscally conservative and creative. She said the school district has a low tax rate, and that isn’t likely to change.
“Neosho is a fairly conservative community,” she said.
Gib Garrow, economic development director for the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, said the superintendent should have a diversified background, maybe even with some experience in the private sector.
Boise said that is possible, if the person has the necessary education certifications.
The application period opened Monday, and by Thursday, 12 interested people had picked up applications. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 31. The staff at the state association will check references and do other investigation on those who apply.
The applications will be provided to the Neosho Board of Education sometime in mid-November. The board will select finalists to interview, with a goal of naming a new superintendent by Dec. 20. The superintendent would start the job in July.
Boise told reporters that the district took the right approach by starting its search early.
“They’ll have the pick of the pool of candidates,” he said.
Boise said most of the applicants probably will be current superintendents and assistant superintendents.
“I think there will be some outstanding people” applying, he said.
THE SURVEY asks participants to rate several characteristics, including expertise in fiscal management; being accessible to students, staff members, the community and the school board; integrity and high moral standards; and ability to provide leadership.