By Betsy Dolan
Finding a superintendent for a school district takes a massive effort, and Fort Bend ISD has taken a step toward finding theirs by hiring a firm to start the search. The Board of Trustees(BOT) voted 6-0 to hire Hazard, Young & Attea (HYA), a national firm that specializes in superintendent searches, to assist in the hunt for a new superintendent.
In July, the board amended Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney’s contract allowing him to retire in January. Jenney had enough sick leave and vacation days to allow him to depart the position immediately. Long time Assistant Superintendent Mike McKie was appointed Interim Superintendent.
The BOT interviewed three firms and ultimately decided on HYA because of their track record of community involvement in the search process, their focus on diversity and the addition of a retired superintendent from Cy-Fair ISD who will help in Fort Bend ISD’s search.
“Adding the Cy-Fair ISD superintendent is a big strength,” said Trustee Dave Rosenthal. “A lot of the growing pains we’re going through now, they went through five years ago.”
“Remember that we’re looking for something different than what we have,” Trustee Bruce Albright said. “I liked that they said, ‘We’ll go find applicants. We won’t make them find us.'”
The district will now negotiate a contract with HYA but will likely need to move their timeline back. The board had hoped to have a new superintendent in place by January but HYA said a 3-4 month search process is typical.
Part of that search process will involve creating a candidate profile and learning about the issues facing the district. HYA will spend an extensive amount of time in the community, talking with district staff and community leaders as well as using an on-line survey to gather information. It will help circulate the job posting and thoroughly vet candidates.
“Other districts that hired HYA said that the public comment part was handled very well,” said Trustee Grayle James, who, along with Patsy Taylor and Dave Rosenthal, helped select the three finalists. “They said the community felt very involved and engaged which is a huge factor for Fort Bend ISD.’
Six bids were received by the district and the board committee narrowed the list to three. According to their web site, HYA has conducted searches for 16 school districts in Texas, including Spring ISD.