With Beaumont Independent School District Superintendent Carrol Thomas making the announcement last month that he was leaving the district after 16 years, the search has now begun for a new super.
This past Monday, Feb. 20, BISD trustees attended a training workshop where they heard presentations from attorney Tanner Hunt, who is a partner at the law firm representing the school district, and Danny Lovett, Region 5 executive director. The two gave the pros and cons in looking for a replacement for Thomas, with Lovett telling the board, “this is a game for big boys and girls.”
He said because Thomas’ salary is the highest in Texas, every potential candidate in the state will be watching to see what salary BISD posts for the job. That number, he said, should be about $225,000 based on averages from other districts around Texas with comparable student populations and demographics.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, Melody Chappell, who works with Hunt, will present three superintendent search firms to the board of trustees for consideration.
During the Monday meeting, Hunt told the board that he has been involved in numerous successful superintendent searches. He added that his associate, Chappell, was not involved in those searches, but he spoke encouragingly to the board about paying him to help find the next superintendent.
Hunt said he did not recommend the board involve the public in its search for a superintendent.
“I recommend not creating a citizens advisory committee,” Hunt told the board. “An advisory committee can’t know what you know. And if you don’t follow their ideas and you hire someone else, then you have a committee of disgruntled folks.”
Hunt also advised the board to consider someone in-house before they went seeking people to apply for the job. He said if the board finds someone that is already employed in the district, then they don’t need to look elsewhere.
But BISD trustee Zenobia Bush didn’t seem content with the idea of going in-house. She asked whether or not that process could be by-passed if the board decided that a criterion for being the BISD superintendent was the candidate had to currently be employed elsewhere as a superintendent.
The board has yet to establish all of the criteria for the job. That task will likely occur behind closed doors, as recommended by Lovett. He said that should be the first thing the board decides so that it can have its search firm post the requirements of the job.
“This is the time to look for a superintendent because they all just had their evaluations,” Lovett said. “Dr. Thomas (has given) you plenty of notice. I would think that you would want to get someone employed in the next few months and have them in place for the transition. Maybe get them on the board by the end of June so they can be in place for the July budget process.”