The current Omaha school board plans to pick a permanent superintendent before 2013.
The 12-member board, four of whom are leaving in January, was given two timeline options Monday by PROACT Search, the board's contracted search firm: Hire a new leader by Dec. 17, or by Jan. 18, 2013.
The board chose the earlier option on a 10-0 vote, with members Justin Wayne and Marian Fey abstaining.
Members said they wanted the board with experience to make the hire. Members also said they think the public wants them to move quickly on hiring a new leader for the Omaha Public Schools.
“They know what our issues are. I think it would be important to have their voice in this selection,” Mary Morrissey, board vice president, said of the four members leaving the board.
Only two of the six members up for re-election in November are running: Morrissey and President Freddie Gray.
Leaving the board are Sandra Jensen, Mary Ellen Drickey, Nancy Huston and Kersten Borer, who together have more than 60 years of experience. The last time the board saw a turnover this big was after the 1982 election, when five new members won seats.
The board will be choosing a permanent replacement for retiring Superintendent John Mackiel. Virginia Moon is the district's interim leader for this school year, which started Monday.
Gary Solomon, CEO of PROACT, said the more aggressive timeline will not rush his firm, and that's the one he favored.
He worries about a superintendent getting hired late and not having enough time to work with the outgoing leader.
“More transition time is healthy,” Solomon said.
If the current board hires the next leader, he said, candidates likely will want some contractual protection for future dealings with the new board.
Moon, the district's interim leader, said that once the new members are elected, the current board should do as much as it can to include them in the process.
Board member Bambi Bartek said it was “vital” that the current board “truly knows what it's doing” in hiring the next leader.
Wayne proposed a timeline that starts the process in January — after four new members have been sworn in — and makes a choice in April or May. That was Fey's first choice, so the board could strategically plan with Moon, Fey said in an interview. But she said she was comfortable with the board's decision.
It will be the board's second try to find a successor to Mackiel. The board hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates over PROACT to lead its first search.
That inquiry resulted in the hiring of Nancy Sebring, then the superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. She resigned from the Omaha job in June after sexually explicit emails sent to and from her work account became public.
Last month the board chose PROACT to lead the new process.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1074, firstname.lastname@example.org twitter.com/jonathonbraden