December 17, 2013

The Carroll Community School District board of education is formally accepting applications to fill the high school principal position starting in the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Rob Cordes reported to the board Monday night that the opening has already been advertised in large, metro-area newspapers and on the Iowa REAP, Teach Iowa and Carroll Community School websites. Applications are due Jan. 15, 2014.

Cordes also presented the board with a tentative timeline and interview process for filling the principal's position. He suggested the board review applications and make reference calls from Jan. 15 to Feb. 7, 2014. He proposed conducting interviews the week of Feb. 17 to March 3, 2014, and possibly bringing two finalists back for a second interview the week of March 10, 2014. A contract with a new principal could be approved during the March board meeting.

Cordes recommended that board conduct at least four interviews, but no more than six. He expects to receive between 25 and 30 applications.

The interview process will take a full day. It will include meetings with high school students, staff, administrators, secretaries, athletic and technology directors, Grundmeyer, parents, and the board, as well as a tour of the school district and the community.

Grundmeyer suggested that the board could conduct initial screenings with applicants via Skype - an Internet video-conferencing service - or over the phone to narrow the list of candidates down further before bringing applicants to Carroll for the day-long interview process.

Cordes plans to meet with each group before the interview days to ensure that each candidate receives the same set of questions, and that off-limit topics such as family background and religion are not addressed.

Each group will fill out an online feedback form for the board to consider before making a final hiring decision.

For the remainder of the 2013-14 school year, Trent Grundmeyer, a professor at Drake University in Des Moines, will continue as consultant to the assistant principal, working in the district two or three days a week.

When Grundmeyer was hired in September, board members decided to review the agreement at the end of the fall semester to make sure it was a good fit for all parties. On Monday, they voted unanimously to continue the contract this spring.

Board member LaVerne Dirkx particularly pushed for this reevaluation opportunity during the September meeting. Based on the recommendations of Cordes and assistant principal Tammie McKenzie, Dirkx concluded Monday that continuing the arrangement was in the best interest of the students and the board.

"Tammie thinks a lot of you and what you have done here and what you have said you were going to do next semester," Dirkx said addressing Grundmeyer. "If there is a problem, we'll hear about it, and we've not heard a word."

Board members and administrators agreed that McKenzie and Grundmeyer bring different strengths to their offices, and that these strengths complement each other.

"We feel we've got a lot in the works to propel the high school in different areas," said Grundmeyer. "We feel we're heading in the right direction."

Grundmeyer complimented McKenzie for her hard work, stating that their different strengths didn't prevent consistency in dealing with the staff.

Cordes also complimented McKenzie, suggesting that the board offer her additional compensation for the extra responsibilities she has taken on this semester. He plans to bring a formal recommendation to the board during its January meeting.