Search for schools leader continues

With six weeks left in the school year, the next superintendent of Brown County Schools hasn’t yet been hired.

School board Vice President Carol Bowden said the plan is to hire someone before David Shaffer retires, but she would not give a more exact timeframe of when the announcement would come.

Shaffer will end his 21-year tenure with Brown County Schools on June 30; for the last eight he’s been superintendent.

The plan is to have him train the new superintendent, Bowden said. Shaffer is willing to do that even after he leaves, she said.

“We can hopefully have an overlap so there can be a smooth hand-off from one person to another,” Bowden said.

The school board began the hiring process last fall. The application period opened at the beginning of December and closed in mid-January.

Bowden would not comment on how many applicants have been interviewed and if any are employed with Brown County Schools.

Keeping even the number of applicants confidential is an effort to protect the identities and work environments of the candidates, some of whom might not have told their current employer that they’re interviewing elsewhere, Bowden said.

From Jan. 19 to March 10, board members met eight times in executive session with “the receipt of information about and the interviewing of prospective employees” as the only item on the agenda at all but one.

Three of those meetings took place off-campus, at the Brown County History Center and Parkview Church of the Nazarene.

The ideal candidate will have a “good grounding” in academics as well as an understanding of “where we are and where we hope to go,” Bowden said.

The board is looking for a superintendent who can communicate well, she said, “because that person is going to be the face of the corporation.”

Continuing the biweekly Superintendent’s Corner column in the Brown County Democrat is another expectation, Bowden said.

“They have to be willing to do that because it is an opportunity to communicate with the public that doesn’t directly interact with the school corporation,” she said.

Another Shaffer characteristic the board wants to see in the next superintendent is someone who will be present at events, both inside and outside the community.

“He does go above and beyond what I think a lot of people do,” Bowden said of Shaffer.

“Mr. Shaffer’s shoes are pretty large to fill, and we aren’t looking for an exact fit, but we are looking for someone who walks in those shoes further down the road in life.”