The Capital School District Board of Education began working to revise its administrative hiring procedures at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Board of Education Vice President Brian Lewis drafted a new hiring procedure for administrative hires, which would give the Board of Education more input into who is hired.
The proposed policy suggests that after the top three candidates for a position have been selected by an interview committee − made up of teachers, Capital Educators Association members, parents, school staff and district staff – school board members would then interview each of those candidates separately, asking each candidate the exact same questions. The superintendent and the district’s human resources director would also be present for the meeting. During the interview process, the board would use a system to score candidates. Once the board has interviewed all the candidates they would meet privately, without the superintendent or human resources director, and determine who to hire. Their decision would then be voted on in an open session.
“I’ve taken the liberty to contact of school board members in Delaware to see what their administrative interview process consists of,” Lewis said. “I was informed that Caesar Rodney and Cape Henlopen conduct theirs [this way].”
This process would be used when hiring assistant superintendents, business managers, human resource directors, supervisors, principals and vice principals.
Under current policy, the interview committee chooses its top three candidates and then they are interviewed independently by Superintendent Michael Thomas, who then makes a recommendation to the board as to who he thinks should be hired. The board then votes on the decision in open session.
“We don’t know [the candidates] from Adam,” Lewis said. “I think … it would behoove us to meet the individuals and find out what they’re all about and it would help me make a decision accordingly on who I would vote for.”
Board member Kay Dietz-Sass cautioned that the board be careful in changing the policy too much.
“I think it’s important that we incorporate what is currently being done because it’s been successful this far without making any changes,” Dietz-Sass said.
One of the aspects of the new policy that created the most discussion was the role that the superintendent would play in the new process. As Lewis’ draft reads, the superintendent would sit in on the meeting with the HR director and “as a courtesy” would be asked if they could work with a candidate.
Board member Sean Christiansen proposed that the superintendent be given a more active role.
“Why don’t we have the superintendent rank the candidates one through three for their top pick,” he said. “If we include the superintendent that way, it’s not giving him direct control or him saying ‘this is who I want and that’s it. We still have a say in it, but you’re also going to get his opinion.”
Page 2 of 2 - Thomas expressed similar concerns.
“I think any superintendent would want a certain level of input into who was hired because [the superintendent] is responsible for evaluating those people,” Thomas said. “I think the superintendent would have a solid foundation on the skill set that they need in a particular position.”
Another concern that was raised was how the board would be brought together to do these interviews, as the board members work during the day. Lewis initially requested that the full board be present for interviews, but Dietz-Sass suggested that the quorum of three of the five board members be the minimum requirement.
Board members were receptive to the new policy but it was decided that Lewis would work with Thomas and Christiansen to iron out some of the details and create a new draft of the policy for the Nov. 20 board meeting, at which time the policy change will be submitted for a first reading. The proposed policy will go through three readings total before the board votes.