School board chooses firm to conduct superintendent search

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 4, 2015


GROSSE POINTES —  From the fewer than 10 search firms that made proposals to lead the Grosse Pointe Public School System superintendent search, the district voted 7-0 at a special meeting Jan. 27 to approve the School Exec Connect proposal.

“I can say that they’re all reputable firms,” Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations Christian Fenton said. “They’ve done a lot of work throughout Michigan and the country.

“We would be well-served, quite frankly, with almost any of them,” he said.

The timeline proposed by School Exec Connect included creating a superintendent profile in February and early March, starting a national advertising campaign in March, selecting candidates from late April to May, narrowing to semifinalists and finally selecting a finalist who would take the post on July 1.

The search would include an interview committee of parents, staff and community members, according to the proposal. 

School Exec Connect quoted a total cost of the search with advertising, the consulting fee and expenses at slightly less than $30,000, according to the proposal.

Their proposal states that they have placed more than 225 superintendents in districts since 2004, and that every one of their searches has been finished on time and within the budget.

School board Vice President Dan Roeske said School Exec Connect was his top choice.

“They’ve placed people in districts like ours,” he said. “They have a guarantee on their process. They have a community engagement process.”

Others voiced their approval of the chosen firm, as well.

“I like the fact that they have the resources to do a regional search, but also a national search, which gives us more flexibility on what we’re looking for here,” board Treasurer Brian Summerfield said.

Trustee Ahmed Ismail said that other districts he spoke to that used the firm were happy with School Exec Connect’s work.

“I’ve seen them in action and I think they handle themselves professionally,” Ismail said.

“I’m happy we’re moving forward,” Ismail said of taking the step of choosing the search firm.

Board trustee Lois Valente had some concerns about the search firms and whether they had the capacity for a true national search.

“Really, one of the things that (is) important to me is boots on the street to do a national search,” she said.

She was concerned whether the firms would have satellite offices and consultants in other areas instead of relying solely on advertising for a national search.

Trustee Cindy Pangborn said she felt School Exec Connect had the necessary resources.

“They did talk about outreach into the whole nation,” she said.

“I think maybe that there is more to it than was written here,” Pangborn added about the information in the proposal.