The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood gets input for superintendent search


March 1, 2018


Ironwood — The Ironwood Area Schools is continuing its search for a new superintendent, with the Michigan Association of School Boards holding a series of meetings Wednesday with various district stakeholders.

MASB consultant Mary Brayak said she was meeting with various district employees during the day Wednesday and was holding a community meeting that evening.

“I’m meeting with support staff — custodians, bus drivers, food service — all those folks. And then throughout the course of the day; teachers, administrators,” Brayak told the Daily Globe Wednesday afternoon. “These are face to face meetings; but they’re very anonymous, there are no names attached or anything like that. What we talk about in here is strictly in here.”

The meetings provide the groups with an opportunity to not only talk about how they view the district, but also the qualities they’d like to see in the candidate the district hires to replace Superintendent Tim Kolesar after he retires at the end of the year.

The district will also have a survey on its website and Facebook page, according to Brayak. The survey will not only be a more in-depth process for those who couldn’t make the meetings Wednesday, but also give those wearing multiple hats in the district a chance to provide different perspectives on the search.

“Say, for instance, an employee comes in; they want to talk to me and give me input as a stakeholder and an employee,” Brayak said. “They can then go on the website — perhaps they have children in the district, or grandchildren in the district, or nieces and nephews — and they can fill that survey out very differently.”

The MASB, which the district hired to conduct the search, will take the results of the discussions and surveys and compile them into a report for Ironwood’s board of education to use when selecting interview questions and meeting with candidates.

The district is also in the process of compiling a district profile, Brayak said, which will go on the MASB’s website with the job posting to give candidates information on the district.

While the process of incorporating stakeholder input has only become part of the superintendent search in the last 20 years or so, according to Brayak, she said it is important as it makes the process more transparent and gives the community a sense of investment in the hiring decision.

“It’s good for the board to get this kind of input, it really is,” Brayak said. “And it’s great for the community and the employees to be able to offer input as well.”

While the district employees had provided a lot of information, Brayak said the district’s status as a school-of-choice district and its diverse student population were repeatedly brought up. This led to a focus on a candidate with good people skills who is good at long-term planning, Brayak said.

Given the district is balancing between making sure it is choosing the right candidate with the need to give the new hire enough time to settle in before the next school year, Brayak said the district could hire a candidate potentially in late May.

While there may still be a shallower pool of talent willing to take a job in the Upper Peninsula, Brayak said she sees a trend of younger superintendents wanting to move to the rural parts of the state.

“The younger to middle-aged superintendents who are mobile or have families are saying, ‘We don’t want to be in the city anymore.’ So there is this movement, maybe not as quickly as we’d like but I don’t think it’s a glacial pace either,” Brayak said. “There is this desire to come to more rural areas, and I think Ironwood really provides unique opportunities, just because of (its) location.”


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017