The North Branch School Board has already started with interviews for the soon-to-be-open superintendent position when Dr. Deb Henton ends her tenure in June. No, they haven’t interviewed any candidates, but rather they interviewed for who would help them with the search process.
During a special school board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6, the board heard presentations from representatives of three search groups who specialize in helping districts hire new administrators such as superintendent. The three groups were Peer Solutions, Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) and Big River.
During the presentations, the three featured many of the same attributes, but also had a few items that made them unique. Peer Solutions had recently worked with several other Mississippi 8 schools such as Cambridge-Isanti, Big Lake and Becker. MSBA touted how the district was already a part of MSBA, so they would be willing to provide assistance whether or not they were chosen. Big River talked about having a little more of a unique method for their selection process.
All three were approximately the same price for their services, with only approximately $2,000 separating the low bid from the high bid. They also offered similar timelines for how long the process
should take. Specifically, all three would start the search process immediately, with an approximate four-week window for interested candidates to turn in their application.
Two of the three gave a money-back guarantee if a hire wasn’t made. Only Big River didn’t make that guarantee, claiming they have never been unsuccessful in finding someone.
During the discussion following the presentations, several members of the board noted how they were intrigued by Big River’s “outside the box thinking.” Board member Heather Osagiede, however, said she had them at the bottom of her three for many of the same reasons.
She added that she had discussions and attended presentations from MSBA at a recent conference, and she was impressed with what she heard at that convention, which she just happened to be attending right after hearing about current superintendent Dr. Deb Henton’s pending resignation. In addition Osagiede said she thought MSBA and Peer Solutions had more connections with potential applicants.
Ultimately, board member Darryl Goebel made the motion to go with Big River, with Tim MacMillan seconding the motion. That motion passed 4-1 with Osagiede voting no and board chair Kirby Ekstrom abstaining since he is the district’s representative on MSBA.