The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board moved full speed ahead Monday night in its first meeting with the search firm it selected last week to help it find a replacement for Hardy Murphy, who resigned as superintendent in August.

Alan Leis, a principal with the firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, presented a work schedule aimed at finalizing a superintendent search by April 1.

Leis, a former superintendent of the Naperville Community Unit School District No. 203 and a veteran of several superintendent searches, warned, however, that surprises inevitably pop up that threaten to derail even the best-planned search.

“Every search I’ve ever done has a surprise,” he said. “It’s always a different surprise, but we always have one,” he added.

Under his guidance, the board decided that the “Leadership Profile Report” that outlines the qualifications the board is looking for in its next leader, ought to be completed for presentation at the board’s Dec. 16 meeting.

The search firm will receive applications on its website and will present about five to eight candidates it feels best meet the qualifications contained in the profile on or about Feb. 18.

The board will hold lengthy—up to half-day—interviews with each candidate, after which it will identify about three semi-finalists.

It is at this point that it is likely to identify the candidates publicly. There are tentative plans for each semi-finalist to make public presentations in the district—probably in late March– before the board makes its final selection. Special sessions will be held with various groups of community leaders during this period.

Assuming that all goes according to plan, the new superintendent would assume his or her responsibilities on July 1, 2014, and would be immediately immersed in helping to develop the district’s next strategic plan.

Leis advised the board to declare at least three semi-finalists for the position. There is always the possibility, he said, that one may pull out for a number of reasons, including acceptance of another position or a family emergency that may preclude an immediate job change.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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