2018-10-11 / Front Page

MAS garnering input for search

Stakeholder meeting, online survey will aid in superintendent pursuit

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Area Schools Board of Education is continuing its search for a new superintendent. A community stakeholder meeting was held recently to garner input for the superintendent search.

Currently, the Michigan Association of School Boards, a service organization that supports the work of school boards throughout Michigan, is assisting the MAS board with the search. Last week, Mary Brayak, with the MASB’s Executive Search Services, hosted a meeting to allow community and staff members the opportunity to share their perspective on the superintendent search.

“This is part of the whole process for finding a new superintendent

– finding a good fit,” Brayak explained. “It’s about a four-month process, give or take. Depending on boards, depending on situations and dates and things like that.”

She noted that she had worked with the MAS board to establish a timeline for the search.

“They established this day as their stakeholder meeting,” Brayak said. “What I do is come to the district early in the morning, set up, and just open up shop and listen.”

She pointed out that she had spent her day compiling lists to narrow the focus of the superintendent search. The list was made using suggestions from visitors throughout the day.

Among the strengths of the district, the community and MAS employees listed: staff, facility, community (understanding of successes and failures), student performance, and high rate of college/workforce placement.

Major challenges of the district listed include: burnout/ loss of staff; longevity of staff; incentive to lure/ retain staff; special needs of students and their challenges; lack of younger families; geography; community/ parent/staff/student involvement; large class sizes; school of choice; values athletics/extracurricular; higher expectations to achieve; and transparency. As for the personal characteristics and qualifications of a potential superintendent, the community said they were looking for someone with the ability to: multi task; follow through/complete tasks; stay the course; understand dynamics of community; be the mediator between all group; be well organized; understand nuances problems and strengths of MAS; make short or long term goals for district; make a long term commitment to district; respect understanding for staff contracts; in the district; learn and accept new challenges; understand Upper Peninsula living; and be transparent.

Additionally, those participating in the meeting expressed a desire to obtain someone with a background in education and finance experience.

Desired personality traits of a new superintendent are: friendly; thickskinned; personable; willingness to get to know people; approachable; professional; fair treatment of everyone; common sense approach; good at public relations; willingness to listen; visible in community; good organizer; willingness to listen to all; makes informed decisions; district focused and recognizes a job well done; flexible; strong technology skills; face-to-face communicator; even-tempered; and steadfast.

Additional input from community members may be submitted anonymously via an online survey. The survey is located at www.surveymonkey.com/r/manistiquesearch. Surveys will be accepted through Oct. 16.

Brayak noted that the information gathered during the stakeholder meeting and from online surveys will be compiled and presented to the MAS board in the near future.

According to MAS Board of Education President Rae Birr, the current timeline for the superintendent search is as follows: stakeholder survey open until Oct. 16; Oct. 22 board workshop addressing recruitment; Oct. 24 advertise vacancy/recruit candidates; Nov. 13 applications deadline; Nov. 26 board workshop addressing interview preparation; Dec. 1 initial interviews; Dec. 3 final interviews; Dec. 10 regular board meeting to select a superintendent.

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