The search for a new superintendent for South Lyon Community Schools is underway.
A special study session was held by the South Lyon Board of Education, Wednesday night, as they begin the process of replacing Superintendent Melissa Baker, who recently announced her resignation. Baker, who has been with the district for 27 years and was named superintendent in 2015, is leaving to pursue a new, undisclosed opportunity. Board Chairman Randy Clark said this ranks among the most important decisions the Board has had to make. He said they’ve had some tough decisions financially, but “as far as a long-term strategic decision that’s going to affect the district for potentially a decade? Yeah, this is going to be big.”
Jay Bennett, Assistant Director of Executive Search Services for the Michigan Association of School Boards gave a presentation to the Board at the study session on what they can expect, should they choose to use the MASB in their search. He said South Lyon’s profile should draw in a large number of qualified candidates for the position. He said they can expect around 30 applicants, but while they might be desirable enough to justify advertising out-of-state for the job, Michigan has tighter restrictions that most other states and that may detract interested candidates. A 14 week plan was laid out, with Bennett going into greater detail on individual steps along the way like how to prepare for advertising the job, recruiting, interviewing, and making a decision.
Bennett said that with the holiday season nearing, they likely wouldn’t be able get earnestly started until January, and shouldn’t expect to have someone in office until July 1st. With Baker set to leave in late December or January, he suggested finding an interim superintendent to finish the current school year.
Clark said talked about the importance of doing this right, and said, “I knew this was going to be a daunting process to do it correctly, but we owe it to the community to do the best search we can and get the best candidates we can and ultimately make a good decision- that’s our job.” He said the Board is “seven people representing multiple thousands of families. We have a large district, 82 square miles, and we need to get it right.”
At the end of the session, Clark suggested they request proposals from the MASB and other search services. In his presentation, Bennett said a superintendent search usually costs between $5,000 and $90,000. When asked by the Board where he thought South Lyon would fall on that scale, he said “under $20,000.” Clark said at their next meeting, on November 11th, the Board will likely go over these bids and discuss how they want to proceed. (MK)