The Mississippi School Boards Association Superintendent Search Service has been employed to help find a new leader of the Charleston public schools.
Bryant Watson, president of the East Tallahatchie School District Board of Trustees, said Monday that interested applicants for the district superintendent position may apply online through the MSBA website.
In the upper right, under “Superintendent Search Service” and “Current MSBA Searches,” click to view the ETSD opening announcement, complete with informative brochure and application.
The posting on the MSBA website summarizes what the ETSD is looking for in a candidate for superintendent: "The East Tallahatchie School District is looking for a proven academic leader who has a recent documented track record of raising student achievement, who will develop a climate of trust and transparency, and who will engage with the staff, students, and other stakeholders."
The ETSD website also features an “Apply Here” button atop the landing page that links to the same information on the MSBA website.
“The school board cannot and will not accept any applications for this position,” stressed Watson. “All applicants must use the link on the MSBA website or the East Tallahatchie website.”
The application period opened on March 31 and ends on April 28, when they must be received in the MSBA office by 4:30 p.m.
“No applications will be accepted after the deadline has passed,” Watson noted.
ETSD contracted with MSBA to handle the process of seeking, accepting and vetting information submitted by candidates on applications, resumes and other professional documents.
“They do in-depth background checks,” said Watson. “They also ask for other stuff that we have no ability to do, so it makes sense to let them do all the legwork and we take it from there.”
Before any work began, Watson said MSBA asked the local school board to compile a “wish list” of sorts, featuring tangibles and intangibles the board desires to see in a new superintendent.
“They gave us a survey — what do we feel was at the top of the list [of assets] that applicants really need to have, and then what do we feel would be good to have but if they don’t, it won’t disqualify them. Then they set up the application and criteria from there.”
The 10-page application seeks a wide range of information about professional certification, work history, and the academic performance of schools for which they have worked in the administrative roles of superintendent, assistant superintendent and principal.
In addition to the application, candidates must submit a letter of interest, a current resume, an official transcript from each college or university they have attended and a copy of their administrative license.
Watson said it is a very thorough process.
“They’re very adept at what they’re looking for and how to get it,” he added.
Once the application deadline of April 28 passes, MSBA will pore over the list of applicants for the ETSD position and arrange a list to present to the local school board, Watson explained.
“They will come and give us a presentation,” he said. “We will get the whole list of who all applied, but we’ll also get a list that they feel are the ones that we should be looking at interviewing. And that list could be anywhere from eight people, 10 people, 15 people.”
Watson said the MSBA professionals will recommend candidates who they think are best suited to meet the qualifications and to fulfill what the district is seeking in a superintendent, but he noted that the board can choose to interview anyone who has applied and is not bound to the recommendations from the MSBA.
“I think we should probably be looking at beginning interviews around the end of May,” the president noted.
Ideally, the district would make a new hire before outgoing superintendent Dr. Darron Edwards leaves on June 30, said Watson.
“My hope is to try to have one about two weeks before he leaves so that the incoming superintendent can come in and converse with [Edwards] and get the lay of some things that are already in process so he doesn’t come in blind. He will have some kind of thought process of what’s going on,” he said.
Edwards, Watson noted, has welcomed the opportunity to meet and assist a new superintendent, who would assume control July 1.
“Many thanks to Dr. Edwards for his continuous efforts and dedication to leading our district during this transition period,” Watson said. “Dr. Edwards has been cordial, accommodating and, most of all, a true professional. We wish him good luck and blessings in his future endeavors.”
On July 1, 2018, Edwards became the first African American to assume the role of ETSD superintendent.