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Superintendent search process, timeline detailed

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A more concrete timeline and other details of the Brainerd superintendent search were spelled out Thursday.

The Brainerd School Board met with School Exec Connect, an Illinois-based firm that specializes in placing school leaders in districts, to better lay out what’s to come in the next few months as officials look for a replacement for current Superintendent Steve Razidlo.

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Razidlo recently announced his resignation effective at the end of the school year. He accepted a three-year contract as superintendent at The American International School in Vienna, Austria.

At Thursday’s meeting, three of the four consultants from School Exec Connect detailed the schedule over the next several months of the search.

The first step is finding out what kind of superintendent is needed.

The community and school district stakeholders will soon have a chance to weigh in on that.

There will be a link on the school district’s website in early February leading to a survey. Written feedback will also be accepted.

A letter to stakeholders will be sent out soon, electronically or by mail, detailing the process and asking them to contribute ideas to the search.

The questions on the online survey include: What are the strengths of the school district? Why would a leader want to become superintendent of this district? What are the challenges your district faces? What should a new superintendent know about the district before accepting the responsibility? What should the new superintendent focus their energy on in the first year? What skills and attributes does the new superintendent need to be successful?

School Exec Connect will meet in-person with several focus groups consisting of district office administrators, building administrators, certified and non-certified staff, students, community leaders, parent leaders, community education and seniors.

In the focus groups, School Exec Connect wants to gather what each thinks are the strengths of the district and what is needed in the new leader, said consultant Bob Ostlund.

Gathering that input from community members and school stakeholders is vital, Ostlund said.

“It helps bring the new person in stronger when there’s a lot of community involvement,” he said. “Input is very valuable.”

Once School Exec Connect completes the recruiting and initial interviewing, a small pool of candidates will be presented to the Brainerd School Board. The consultants will detail the strengths of each potential candidate.

“We won’t bring anyone we don’t think can do the job,” said consultant Toni Johns.

Still, the consultants will not give their personal opinions on who should be chosen, said consultant Charlie Kyte.

“It’s your relationship. There is chemistry to it,” Johns said of the relationship between the board and a superintendent.

JESSICA LARSEN, staff writer, may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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