Lindbergh School District eyes consultant for superintendent search

Staff Report

The Lindbergh Board of Education next month will consider employing a consulting firm to assist in the search for a new superintendent.

The Board of Education will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the boardroom of the Administration Building, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

During a recent special meeting, Board of Education members interviewed four consulting firms to assist in the search for someone to replace longtime Superintendent Jim Sandfort, who is retiring at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

Sandfort, who has served as superintendent since 1991, announced last April that he would retire.

During the Dec. 16 special meeting, the board conducted separate, hourlong interviews with the following consultants:

• The Missouri School Boards Association of Columbia, represented by Jeff Tindle, associate executive director, board services and operations, and Paul James, a retired superintendent.

• BWP & Associates of Houston, Texas, represented by two retired superintendents, Robert Elsea and Gary Wright. Wright is a former Lindbergh superintendent and a former executive director of the Cooperating School Districts.

• Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Glenview, Ill., represented by Gerald Chapman, chief executive officer, and Clayton School District Superintendent Don Senti.

• Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, represented by Gary Ray, president; Tom Morgan, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Pattonville School District; Tom Cummings, superintendent of the North Kansas City School District; and Ryan Ray, an associate for the firm.

Board members peppered the consultants with questions about their firms, search procedures, their knowledge of Lindbergh and costs, including base prices and expenses, and whether those costs were negotiable.

Base costs ranged from $12,000 for BWP & Associates to $19,500 for Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.

After the interviews, the board directed Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Rick Francis to provide an itemization of costs from each consultant with a not-to-exceed figure.

In response to a question from Gary Ray about the board’s timeline, President Mark Rudoff noted the board has not formally established one.

“… The whole idea behind it is we’d like to get started early, which is why you’re here now. With a July (2008) vacancy, I don’t think that there’s much of an appetite to extend this beyond winter break next year. In other words, next year at this time we’d like to have a pretty good idea of where we’re going. Maybe we don’t have a candidate selected … but that selection is imminent …,” he said.