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School board to choose between two firms to lead superintendent search

The Troup County School Board heard from two search firms Monday that are vying for the opportunity to lead the system’s superintendent search.

McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, a national superintendent search firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Georgia School Boards Association both presented Monday night. Both entities estimated that a search would take at least three months, although both said they could expedite the process if needed, and would tailor it to whatever the TCSS wanted.

McPherson and Jacobson estimate the cost for its services to be $24,210, including travel expenses.

The GSBA estimate was $7,000 plus travel and lodging expenses.

Representatives from McPherson and Jacobson talked about their five-phase interview process, which has been successful in other districts. James R. Hutto, a consultant with the company, said that almost 75 percent of administrators they helped select over the last five years are still in their positions. 

“We take a lot of pride in the fact that our process seems to lend itself to longevity in the superintendent,” Hutto said.

Board chairman Kirk Hancock asked whether it was advantageous to wait until next summer to complete a hire, since the pool of candidates might be larger. Interim Superintendent Dr. Roy Nichols has said previously that he hopes to be out of the position by the end of January.

“I don’t know that if you started right now if it would be advantageous to try to do it by January,” Hutto said. “That’s pretty quick.”

Dr. Samuel King with the GSBA was also asked about the timeline. The GSBA also recommends three months for the process, but King said there’s really no perfect time to search for a superintendent.

“There’s no exact science to that. Really, a candidate needs to have an opportunity to give appropriate notice,” King said. “There is always a deep pool of folks who are out there, but we work to pinpoint the very best based on your request. I’d say you need to look at what the needs are for your organization, what are those needs and what would three months mean for you, if you were to start this process now.”

Nichols asked specifically about board members who will be taking office in January, and what role, if any they could play in the process. At this point, that role was unclear, but they would not be allowed in executive session discussions.

Both entities also discussed ways to get stakeholders input during the search. 

The school system has been searching for a superintendent since Aug. 13, when Dr. Cole Pugh resigned. Nichols was named interim superintendent at the same meeting.