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Panel sets criteria in McCracken superintendent search

BY KATHLEEN FOXkfox@paducahsun.com

McCracken County has joined Paducah in beginning a critical step in the search for a superintendent as the school board handed over the reins to a screening committee.

The Board of Education and the screening panel met Thursday to discuss desired qualifications and mandatory criteria for the search. Superintendent Nancy Waldrop will not seek another contract when her current agreement ends June 30.

Randy Greene also is leaving his post as Paducah superintendent.

McCracken board chairman Jeff Parker said, "It's a big job and we are one of the best districts in the state, but there is always room to make it better."

The district received 33 applications, but two were incomplete. The applicants included 31 men and two women. Twenty are Kentucky residents. As far as experience, 12 are superintendents, nine are principals, eight are central office staff members, three work for educational organizations, and one is retired, according to Butch Canty, search consultant from the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Canty said the number of applicants received by the county as well as the city was above the state averages and reflects the high quality of the local educational system.

The committee consists of Don Heine, school board; Dan Pope, Lone Oak Elementary School principal; Jill Wilcox and Crystal Culp, county certified teachers; Todd Jackson, facilities director representing classified staff, and Tiffany Watson, parent representative.

The group began to screen candidates Thursday by vetting applicants, including the review of answers to eight essay questions. The job posting was advertised nationally on the state board association website until Monday.

Once the number of applicants is reduced, the committee will begin checking primary and secondary references. The screening council will meet Wednesday and March 18, then identify three to seven unranked finalists March 19 for the board.

Parker emphasized that the board seeks people who meet most of the listed attributes. Those include sound financial management skills, instructional leadership, quality relationship building skills, and a positive and proactive approach in the community.

"The person has to be community-minded, when you're handling the news, the public and people in the schools," Parker said. "The crux of this position is building ties in the community."

Additional recommendations, outside the screening council, can be made by board members, with those people invited for interviews. The board will then conduct in-person interviews and other activities throughout the district with each candidate on the week of March 24. The hiring deadline is March 28.

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

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