Community members are being asked to share what they believe is important for the Papillion-La Vista School District to emphasize as it searches for a new superintendent.

An online survey will be available Thursday through Jan. 31 to provide input. Any district resident interested in the survey can find the link online at

Public forums also will be scheduled where community members can learn more about the search process and provide input in person.

The survey work follows the Papillion-La Vista Board of Education’s decision Jan. 14 to select Ray & Associates to guide the district through the process of selecting its next superintendent.

The firm, based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, helped PLSD select current Superintendent Rick Black in 2007. More recently, Ray & Associates helped Bellevue Public Schools select Frank Harwood as its superintendent in 2011.

Approval of the firm followed a half-hour closed-session by the board. The details of the contract were being negotiated, spokeswoman Annette Eyman said.

Ray & Associates will receive a base fee of $16,000 plus expenses, which is $500 more than the firm charged Bellevue Public Schools for its search in 2011.

One benefit of Ray & Associates is the firm offers a guarantee: If, for any reason, the candidate hired by the board leaves the district within two years, the firm will conduct a second search for no additional cost beyond expenses.

The school board hired Ray & Associates over Proact Search, which Omaha Public Schools brought in to find a new superintendent after a scandal over inappropriate emails surfaced with its initial choice.

Both firms made presentations to the Papillion-La Vista school board on Jan. 14, answering questions and outlining their search process.

Ray & Associates will begin with the community survey and interviews with board members and key stakeholders to build a candidate profile, a list of traits being sought in the search. From there, a timeline will be established, a flyer for the position created and the firm will network to find qualified candidates.

The application for the job is already listed at, with a start date — expected to be July 1 — and compensation listed as “To Be Determined.” The board has indicated it would like to have a new superintendent hired by April 30, with Black’s resignation effective June 30.

Ray & Associates’ website lists a deadline for applications of March 20.

The firm represents districts across the country with a network of more than 140 associates.

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