Search firm hired for city schools superintendent search

City's union leaders have protested hiring external firm

July 09, 2013|Erica L. Green | Erica L. Green

The Baltimore City school board on Tuesday approved the hiring of a prominent, Iowa-based firm to conduct a national search for a permanent CEO to lead Baltimore schools.

Ray and Associates Inc., which has helped fill executive seats in school districts across the state, won a $46,800 competitively bid contract, according to school officials. The contract will begin Wednesday and last through July 9, 2014. The firm was most recently tapped to conduct the superintendent search in Howard County and has conducted searches for Anne Arundel County.

The district's union leaders have protested the board's decision to hire an external search firm. Both the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA) have thrown their support behind interim CEO Tisha Edwards.

BTU President Marietta English said that while she supports a national search, stakeholders need to be at the table and more involved in the selection process. PSASA President Jimmy Gittings said the district needs to look to at promoting from within the organization.

An op-ed submitted Tuesday by former school board member Jim Campbell, who hired former CEO Andres Alonso with the help of a search firm, concluded that the new school board (three new members and a new chairwoman participated in their first official meeting Tuesday) needs to do both.

"With a number of districts in search of a new superintendent, including Boston, El Paso and New Orleans, the board will need to aggressively reach out to attract the best qualified candidates from across the country, as well as to evaluate our local talent," Campbell wrote. "Two lessons learned from the last search, of which I was a part, that might be helpful this time around are the importance of board unity and maintaining the confidentiality of the applicants."

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