The Dougherty County School Board’s search to replace interim superintendent Dr. David Mosely is under way with the job opening now posted on the Georgia School Boards Association website. (File Photo)
ALBANY — The search for a new superintendent in Dougherty County has officially begun, as the job opening is now posted on the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) website.
The job posting comes after the school board approved a motion at its regular meeting on Sept. 27 to select the GSBA to conduct the search to replace interim superintendent Dr. David C Mosely, whose current contract is set to expire on June 30, 2014.
According to the posting on the GSBA website, all candidates are asked to submit application packages to the GSBA office in Lawrenceville, Ga, no later than Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm. Applications can be mailed or hand-delivered. Once the applications are received, the GSBA will present packages on all applicants to Dougherty County School Board members for review.
According to R. D. Harter, director of public information for the Dougherty County School System (DCSS), the GSBA will oversee the application process and the school board will make the decision on who is hired. The GSBA does not make any direct hiring recommendations to the board.
“The school board chose the GSBA to handle the search, not make the selection,” Harter said. “The GSBA posts the job on its website, then gathers all the applications received and gives them to board members. They present all of them, even the ones that don’t meet all the required specifications. It seems odd that they would not screen those but the GSBA is adamant they don’t make any recommendations to school boards on who to hire.”
After reviewing the applications, the board will conduct interviews with qualified applicants and ultimately vote on the top candidates. Harter said the board anticipates doing interviews through the month of February into March, with the hope of making a final decision no later than April. If the process goes according to plan, the board wants to make a hire before Mosley leaves the position.
“The hope is that they can hire someone with a May start date,” said Harter. “The board wants to have some overlap with the current superintendent, so the new person can be apprised of what’s going on. The current superintendent’s term ends on June 30, so they really want the new person in place by the first of June at the latest.”
According to the job posting on the GSBA website the superintendent serves as the chief executive officer of the school system and is responsible for ensuring compliance with all board policies, Georgia Board of Education rules and regulations, and state and federal laws.
Choosing the head of the entire school system is one of the most important roles of any school board, Harter said.
“The primary job of a school board is to hire a CEO to head the system,” said Harter. “That’s what they do. It’s their job.”
Harter said the school board doesn’t always hire an outside agency to conduct a superintendent search, but has done so in the past.
According to Harter, the board did not use an outside agency to conduct a search when it hired Dr. Sally Whatley to replace outgoing superintendent John Culbreath, but it did use the GSBA when searching for Whatley’s replacement, Dr. Joshua Murfree, in 2010.
“Most school boards in Georgia hire the GSBA to do the search process for them,” Harter said. “The school board is not required to use an outside agency to do a search, but if they do, they have to follow certain search criteria.”
That criteria includes requiring candidates to possess a six-year level degree, proper certification as outlined by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s Division of Certification, successful experience as a principal anywhere in the United States, evidence of sound fiscal management, experience in budgeting and educational finance, documented evidence of a goal-focused management style with experience in strategic planning, the ability to delegate authority, have no immediate family member serving on the Dougherty County Board of Education or employed as an administrator in the school district after July 2009 and be of good moral character, therefore having not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
Additional preferred qualifications for applicants are listed on the GSBA website job description. Applicant packages submitted to the GSBA should include a formal letter of application, a completed application, a resume that lists three references and an official or photocopy of official college transcripts.
In an effort to allow community input on potential candidates the school system has a link on its website, which allows community members to vote on what qualifications they feel are most important for a new superintendent.
“The board is still seeking community input on what characteristics people feel are most important for a superintendent to possess,” Harter said. “There’s a link on the school system website asking the community’s opinion. Those responses go anonymously to the GSBA. From what I hear there’ already been good response from the community on that.”
The community feedback link can be found on the home page of the DCSS site, www.docoschools.org. Citizens selecting the link will be directed to complete a nine questions survey where they can prioritize what they are a superintendent’s most important qualifications.
The Dougherty County School system consists of 23 schools and 5 learning centers with an enrollment of 15,438 students and a total operation budget of $120 million.