Lindbergh Board of Education picks 10 semifinalists for superintendent

Ten semifinalists for the Lindbergh School District’s superintendent’s post have been selected by the Board of Education.

Board members narrowed down the list of candidates who applied to 10 semifinalists from the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, according to a district news release.

The district received 57 applications to fill the superintendent’s post being vacated by Jim Sandfort when he retires at the end of the current school year.

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services Rick Francis previously had told the Call the district received 56 applications for the post.

“And that was correct when I gave it to you, but then another one came in under the wire from Ray and Associates, so the actual, official number ended up being 57,” Francis said Monday morning.

Sandfort, who announced in April 2006 that he would retire at the end of the 2007-2008 school year, has served as superintendent since 1991 — the longest tenure in the same school district of any superintendent in St. Louis County. To assist in the search to replace Sandfort, the Board of Education voted unanimously in February 2007 to approve a contract with Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The final cost for the search firm’s services will be $15,000, with a maximum of $6,000 for reimbursed expenses.

Board members met with Ray and Associates during a Jan. 28 closed session and narrowed down the list of candidates to the 10 semifinalists.

The board began interviewing the semifinalists during a closed session Saturday at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.

Additional closed sessions were scheduled Monday evening and Tuesday evening — after the Call went to press.

“We are looking for a superintendent who is committed to a ‘student-first’ philosophy, who models high standards of integrity and personal performance and who has the ability to develop and communicate a vision of quality education,” Board of Education President Mark Rudoff stated in the release. “The superintendent must inspire and motivate others, take an active interest in the community and demonstrate the ability to enhance student performance.”

He added, “The board was favorably impressed with the credentials of the candidates seeking this position, and the interview process is on schedule. We hope to announce the appointment of the new superintendent sometime in February.”

On Monday, Rudoff told the Call, “The board was extremely impressed with both the number and the quality of candidates that applied for this position.”

Francis said, “… They (board members) will meet with Ray and Associates at the end of the interviews and then decide where they go from there.”

Plans most likely will include a visit to the finalist’s community, according to the release.

Superintendent candidates were evaluated and screened based on administrative experience, academic background and the qualities and criteria determined by the school board and submissions by community-interest groups, according to the news release.

The new superintendent will receive a compensation package, including salary and benefits, in the range of $210,000. The final salary will be negotiated and determined based upon the candidate’s proven experience, qualifications and ability to meet criteria established by the board.

Sandfort is being paid $197,938 for the 2007-2008 school year. He also receives additional benefits, including paid family insurance and a monthly travel allowance.

Sandfort has been involved in school ad-ministration for roughly 35 years.

Besides his tenure in Lindbergh, he served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and administrative services at the Parkway School District for five years, as a high-school principal in Shawnee Mission East High School in Kansas for 14 years and as an associate principal in instruction at Shawnee Mission South High School in Kansas for one year.