The Clark County School Board will search far and wide for a new superintendent.
But does it really need to look beyond its own backyard?
The process to replace Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky has only just begun. Like many other searches, it will probably come with a heavy dose of politics. But which locals might be jockeying for the position is already a topic of considerable discussion.
Among possible in-house candidates, several administrators come to mind. Ask around, though, and no one’s giving a direct answer on whether they’ll apply. But most aren’t denying they will, either.
One possible contender: Chief Academic Officer Mike Barton, who handles the district’s instructional issues. He said last month that his interest in the job depends upon the context.
“Does the work in the future involve a focus on getting this reorganization right? I’m very interested in that,” he said. “I just think it would take more conversation with others to see if that’s the direction with all of this.”
How about Jeff Geihs, the school associate superintendent who’s in charge of turnaround schools?
“No position has flown yet,” Geihs said. “And I want to wait and see what the requirements (are) that the board sets forth.”
Then there’s Deputy Superintendent Kim Wooden, the district’s second in command.
“It is pretty early in the process for anyone to determine their intent,” she said in a statement. “I think the first step is exactly what our board is doing, and that is determining the qualities they are seeking and the process they are using. After that, the candidate(s) would actually know what expectations they are applying to meet.”
Outside the central office is franchise Principal John Haynal, who oversees three schools: Vegas Verdes Elementary, Elaine Wynn Elementary and Roundy Elementary. With 10 years of experience at Citibank, Haynal has a different background.
“We haven’t made the decision yet,” said Haynal, a family man who is discussing options with his wife first. “But I’m sure interested in possibly doing something like that.”
At least one potential candidate says he doesn’t want the job: Stephen Augspurger, the executive director of the administrators’ union.
Though he has been interested in the superintendency before, he said that rumors he wants the post this time are “absolutely not correct.”
Any local candidates will be competing with national ones, too.
Stephanie Hyder, director of executive search services with the Oklahoma School Boards Association, helps conduct superintendent searches for Oklahoma districts. She also chairs the National Affiliation of Superintendent Searchers.
In Oklahoma, she encourages school boards to look nationally even if they already have a local candidate in mind. If the internal candidate still lands the job, that adds credibility, she said.
“That matters a lot in regards to credibility of that superintendent being able to get the work done, and the respect that they’re going to glean from their subordinates … (showing) that it wasn’t just a ‘give-me’ thing.” she said.
That’s the concern that Board President Deanna Wright voiced about the hiring of Skorkowsky: since he wasn’t chosen through a rigorous national search, she argued, people were always questioning his ability.
Will any of these names surface in the finalist pool? Stay tuned.