ISD 623 selects superintendent search firm

Thein to retire at end of school year

The Roseville Area School Board has selected a search firm to locate potential superintendent candidates to take over this summer after current superintendent Dr. John Thein retires.

The school board interviewed four potential search firms this winter, hiring School Exec Connect, an Illinois-based national consulting firm, to conduct the search at a cost of $18,500, plus additional expenses not to exceed $1,900. Such expenses could include travel for candidates and consultants, secretarial support and other interview-related expenses.

"We found School Exec Connect matched with our equity vision, and some of the things we were looking for the best, and that's why we decided to go with them," board chair Erin Azer said at the Dec. 16 meeting.

School Exec Connect is also the firm charged with finding a new superintendent for neighboring North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District 622, as current superintendent Patty Phillips retires this summer. ISD 622 hired the firm in October.

Stakeholder input

At a special meeting held Jan. 7, the board solidified a timeline for the search and stakeholder input. A letter outlining the details will soon be mailed to the district community and posted on the district's website.

The letter explains that the three consultants representing School Exec Connect -- Bob Ostlund, Ken Dragseth and Toni Johns  -- will meet with the school board, district staff, parents, students and other members of the community both one-on-one, at open meetings and in focus groups in order to create a "new superintendent profile."

The firm says the profile will help in choosing candidates with the proper characteristics and skills to steer the district on a path based on what stakeholders say are the district's strengths, challenges and goals.

"I would guess in Roseville, you'll get a pretty good number of responses [from stakeholders]," Ostlund said at the Jan. 7 meeting.

Ostlund added that the community will be invited to an open meeting to meet the final two or three candidates and provide feedback to the board. The date for this meeting has not yet been set, but would likely be in the early evening, he said.

Looking forward

The district will advertise the position online in several places, including the Education Week website, a popular resource for educators across the nation.

School Exec Connect aims to have five or six candidates to present to the board by April 20, and the board will narrow the number down to just two or three in a matter of days.

The board is scheduled to identify its top pick by April 28 or 29 and subsequently negotiate a contract, taking official action to accept the contract at a May 12 school board meeting. 

The new superintendent is slated to join the district between July 1 and Aug. 1, potentially overlapping with Thein, whose last day will be July 31. This possible overlap could allow the new superintendent learn from Thein and his 17 years of experience as superintendent, the board said.

Stakeholders will also have the opportunity to provide anonymous written comments about the search process and new superintendent profile via the district's website,

Johanna Holub can be reached at or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.

Superintendent search timeline

School Exec Connect, the consulting firm hired to help the district find candidates, will recruit applicants now through April 15. Here are some important dates currently scheduled in the process:
  • Jan. 26, 27: School Exec Connect meets in person with community stakeholders to develop the "new superintendent profile"
  • Feb. 10: School Exec Connect presents profile to the school board
  • April 20: School Exec Connect presents five to six candidates to the board
  • April 22: The school board narrows the field to two or three candidates
  • April 27, 28, 29: The board conducts all-day interviews with the finalists
  • April 29: The board selects a finalist
  • May 1-12: A contract is negotiated with the candidate
  • May 12: The board accepts the candidate's contract
The new superintendent will take the reins after July 1, but no later than Aug. 1.



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