Cabell BOE superintendent search advances

By JOSEPHINE MENDEZ
HUNTINGTON – After more than a month of discussions, the Cabell County Board of Education is ready to move forward in its search for a new superintendent.
During a meeting Tuesday night, the board approved the job description and recruitment procedure for hiring a new superintendent.
According to Cabell County Schools’ bylaws, before the county can begin searching for candidates, this procedure must be approved by the board.
As part of the procedure, board members have decided to bypass local news when advertising for the position and instead focus resources on online and national publications. Board President Mary Neely said this will allow them to seek out the most qualified individuals.
“It gives us a bigger range to sort through,” she said. “When you are looking at this position, you want the best you can get.”
While casting a wide net will mean more work for board members, Neely said the extra work is well worth it in order to find the best candidate for the job.
Board members also approved changes to the superintendent’s job description. Those changes elaborate on the type of qualification board members want candidates to possess, including asking for documented success in improving student achievement.
To aid in this search, board members approved a contract with the West Virginia School Board Association for $3,940.70.
The association will assist in advertising; developing, making available and receiving applications; developing and overseeing candidates’ screening and interview process; and assisting the board in all other matters that relate to the search.
Howard O’Cull, executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association, said that figure does not include advertising expenses, which he estimated to be about $1,600, according to data he provided the board last month.
O’Cull said the board must select and set the compensation for the next superintendent by June 1.
The board members’ search began following the retirement of Superintendent Bill Smith, 65, which was approved by the board in January. Smith has served as the county’s superintendent since 2005.
In other business, the board approved two change orders for construction of three additional classrooms at Southside Elementary totaling $13,135. These funds will provide labor, materials and equipment necessary to provide room panel signage, add tile baseboards instead of rubber baseboards and complete masonry in restrooms and storage rooms in order to install joists.
James Colegrove, assistant superintendent of operations for Cabell County Schools, said the classrooms will likely be complete by the end of February.
Construction of the classrooms at Southside Elementary began in the summer and is estimated to cost a little more than $1 million, though Colegrove said he expects the actual cost to be less than what was projected.
The project is being paid for using the $3.8 million in bond surplus funds the school system has left over from the bond measure passed by voters in 2006 to fund projects at five schools: Southside, Barboursville Middle, Milton Middle, Huntington Middle and Martha Elementary.
The board voted in March to make the Southside project a top priority. When the classroom addition is complete, the board will assess the remaining bond surplus funds against project requests from the other schools.