Friday April 18, 2014

Search for new SD73 superintendent begins next month

'We might just get eight amazing candidates'

The hunt for a new school superintendent starts early in the new year and wraps up within a few short months, the chairwoman of the Kamloops-Thompson school board said Tuesday.

Denise Harper expects trustees will interview from a shortlist of eight people pulled from a pool of 20 to 30 “good candidates” following a Canadawide search.

“Ideally, we’ll have five to six candidates to choose from,” said Harper. “We might just get eight amazing candidates.”

Supt. Terry Sullivan announced Monday night he would step down on July 31. This is his 15th year at the helm of the Kamloops-Thompson School District.

The district hired the human resources company Go Future to aid in the search. Harper said the company provides the teacher and support staff unions, parent advisory groups, First Nations educators, City staff and representatives from Thompson Rivers University a chance to provide a wishlist of attributes they want in a superintendent before the job is advertised.

She said the same stakeholders can sit in on interviews with candidates later in the process and provide feedback based on what they hear.

That information will be provided to trustees, who conduct their own interviews before selecting a new superintendent, said Harper.

When Sullivan was hired, the school district advertised nationally in The Globe and Mail. This time a number of online job search sites will be used, Harper said. Ideally, the candidate will currently be a superintendent at a smaller district, which was the case with Sullivan.

Harper expects a new superintendent will be announced March 13 or 14 and will begin work Aug. 1.

“This is going to be a whirlwind,” she said of the process.

Sullivan has worked in education for 40 years and felt the time had come to step down, he said. He’s worked in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and B.C.

“It doesn’t seem that long,” he said.

There’s still a lot of work to do, including finalizing a new school calendar, a review of school reconfiguration and boundaries, and a challenging budget process, Sullivan said.

“I certainly am going to continue to be focused and make sure I get done everything that has to get done between now and the time I finish,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan intends to keep Kamloops his home and has a granddaughter who starts school in two years. With this in mind, he joked he’d keep a close eye on the workings of the school district.

He also intends to do more skiing.

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