July 30, 2018
The Board of Education tonight met in a special meeting to further discuss the process to hire a new superintendent of Denver Public Schools as Tom Boasberg steps down after a decade in the role.
The board acknowledged that this is the most important decision it will undertake, and stressed the importance of community voice in the selection process. To that end, the board committed itself to communicating clear expectations about the process, including publicly establishing the goals of the search process as required by state law and outlined in this document from the Colorado Association of School Boards.
The board underscored the importance of the community engagement process it will establish for the search process. “How can we meaningfully engage the community in a way you know we’re listening?” asked Board Member Carrie Olson. “[Board Member] Angela [Cobian] and I kept using classroom analogies: every voice is important for the school to move forward — all students in the classroom, the paraprofessionals the custodians — everybody has a voice.”
Board members said they will engage closely with the community during the selection process and seek out community input on the experiences, qualities and qualifications the next superintendent should have.
Board Member Jennifer Bacon said, “We commit to pushing ourselves to think outside the box for how we engage.” Board Member Happy Haynes echoed the sentiment, adding that the board wants to be “intentional in capturing voices that might otherwise be missed.”
The board agreed to conduct a nationwide search, open to both internal and external candidates. Haynes said, “While there are local candidates, it serves our district, students and process well to cast the net as wide as possible, even if the person is right here under our roof.” Cobian added, “I’m excited to see what talent we’re able to attract from across the country.”
The board is being intentional in setting a time limit on its search. It intends to name the finalist(s) by Oct. 15, and at least 14 days prior to making the official appointment of the new superintendent as required by state law. In order to meet this timeline, the deadline for submitting an application is Sept. 14, 2018.
Board President Anne Rowe said, “Having a time frame that is defined will give us the highest degree of success to find a wonderful leader to take this district forward.”
Board Member Lisa Flores said it was important for the board to consider what it wants its own role to be in the search process: “It helped us to develop a set of competencies and characteristics we are looking for, and thinking about what we want to do as a board, what we want the DPS staff to do, and what we want to hand off. Do we want to hire a search firm or a consulting service? Would that be technical support or a lead role? We ultimately decided that we all want strong ownership of recruiting, selecting and naming our next superintendent.”
Bacon said that the board is hoping to have a third party to help facilitate the human resources function and support with deliberation. As a result, the board has decided to engage a third party consultant with expertise in executive searches to support in the process.
The third party will be expected to possibly facilitate or, at minimum, be involved in the community engagement to inform the search process.