Superintendent search begins

By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter


The Conrad School Board called a special meeting to order on Dec. 21 to discuss the strategies of selecting a new superintendent.


A timeline has been selected and the position will be advertised as soon as possible with the help of the Montana School Board Association (MTSBA). The board agreed to use their help during the search process.


MTSBA, for a $3,500 fee, will visit the district once to provide a summary of the background checks that it conducts for the candidates selected by the board. They also provide an application and do the advertising for the board. The board feels that having the MTSBA do the background checks gives them a chance to be less bias.



On their own, the board has decided on a Feb. 1 deadline for potentials to get in their applications. They also plan to do the interviewing during the week of Feb. 7. It will be posted that the job will pay $75,000 a year or more depending on experience.



The current average salary of superintendents of 24 class B districts is $86,262. One must take into account that the average time in the position of superintendent is also 10.8 years and 17 years in administration.


Carole Jones inquired on opening the application in-house before opening it to the public. With her background in business, she thought it would be best to first look within the “company” and give those interested a chance to apply first. Joe Russell spoke first to oppose this idea and said that it is in the best interest to get a wide variety of candidates and to pick the one that is most qualified.


When the board was asked if anyone in the district was qualified, they let out one name, Craig Barringer, current principal of the Meadowlark and Utterback Middle School. If Barringer was to get the position as superintendent, then the district would be looking for a replacement principal. Two names came to mind of staff with the right credentials and those two were Jim Carroll and Tara Thielman.


No matter who the applicants end up being, the board plans to pick the one who is most qualified and fits our district. They plan to use MTSBA’s general application but also plan to incorporate a few key questions that are specific to our district and our needs. Lynn Utterback, current superintendent, would like to see a candidate with ties to this area with the hopes that the candidate might have the most interest in our community and perhaps stay the longest.