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City schools superintendent search intensifies

BY KATHLEEN FOXkfox@paducahsun.com

The search for the next Paducah school superintendent shifted into high gear Wednesday as the screening committee began to vet applicants.

The Board of Education and the screening panel met to discuss the guidelines and the process behind the search for Superintendent Randy Greene's replacement. Greene submitted his resignation in November, effective when his contract ends June 30.

"Our current superintendent has put us in a wonderful position," board chairman Carl LeBuhn said. "We think it's a desirable job."

The district received 29 applicants, but one has withdrawn. Another is incomplete until a final document is received. Of the completed 27 applications, 20 are from men, with 13 living in Kentucky. On the experience level, nine are superintendents, nine are principals, four are central office staff members, four work for educational organizations ,and one is retired, according to Butch Canty, search consultant from the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Canty said 28 is substantially higher than the 10 to 15 applications that superintendent vacancies attract statewide on average, illustrating the quality of the district and the city.

The board provided a list of essential characteristics for the next superintendent, from data gathered from members and surveys done in each school. LeBuhn listed attributes such as an experienced educational and engaged visible leader; strong financial management skills; effective collaborator with students and administration; placing importance on demanding excellence; having an understanding of state educational laws; maintaining a high level of integrity; having past examples of creative vision, and displaying excitement and pride for the district.

LeBuhn told the committee that finding a candidate who meets all criteria will likely be impossible but the board is asking for the finalists selected to meet the majority of the priority qualities.

The committee includes Janice Howard, school board; Art Davis, Paducah Tilghman principal; Jonathan Smith and Alan Tucker, certified teachers at Paducah Tilghman; Lakilia Bedeau, classified staff member, and Chris Black, parent representative.

The group began the task of evaluating candidates Wednesday according to the resumés and answers to eight essay-style questions. Once the number of applicants is pared down through paper screening, the next step will be checking references and finding additional references.

The board charged the screening panel to recommend three to five unranked candidates, but the board can review all applications and make an addition to the list following the committee's review process.

"Your work is really important," LeBuhn told the group. "We (board of education members) have no pre-set ideas about this position."

The committee will meet to further screen the candidates Monday and then on March 18 to finalize recommendations. The panel and school board will meet March 19 when the committee recommends the finalists. Then the board will set an itinerary for visits and in-person interviews in late March.

LeBuhn said the district has an "aggressive but appropriate timeline in place" with the goal of naming a superintendent by March 31.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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