Lindbergh School District picks firm for superintendent search

Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been selected to assist the Lindbergh Board of Education in its search for a new superintendent.

The Board of Education last week selected Ray and Associates to assist in the search to replace longtime Superintendent Jim Sandfort, who is retiring at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. The selection of the firm is contingent on the successful negotiation and approval of a contract.

During a special meeting in December, Board of Education members conducted separate, hourlong interviews with four firms, including Ray and Associates, which was 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.

Other firms interviewed were:

• 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 Chap-man, chief executive officer, and Clayton School District Superintendent Don Senti.

Board members peppered the consultants Dec. 16 with questions about their firms, search procedures, their knowledge of Lindbergh and costs, including base prices and expenses, and whether those costs were negotiable. After the interviews, the board directed Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services Rick Francis to provide an itemization of costs from each consultant with a not-to-exceed figure.

Those not-to-exceed costs ranged from $12,000 to $21,000. A final cost will ac-company the negotiated contract, which is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education when it meets Tuesday, Feb. 13.

At the Jan. 9 meeting, board members discussed the four firms that were interviewed last month, noting they were impressed with each firm.

Of the MSBA, board Secretary Vic Lenz said, “… They’re intimately aware of school districts in the state of Missouri. They have very close relationships with most school boards in the state, especially in this area, and they’re representing a number of school districts in the area now.”

MSBA officials also have “a national awareness,” he said, adding, “I believe they mentioned that 40 percent of their candidates come from outside the state … They did a very fine presentation.”

Of Ray and Associates, board member Janine Fabick said, “They had several individuals that presented the presentation. One of the individuals that would be working with us if we choose them was from Pattonville and another individual lives in St. Louis — lives out in the city and we would have easy access to him.”

Ray and Associates is a very large firm that has done numerous searches nationwide, she said, adding, “They appear to be very well-qualified as do all the other search firms that we interviewed.”

Board President Mark Rudoff polled board members, asking them to pick their top two choices.

After the other six board members selected MSBA and Ray and Associates as their top two picks, Rudoff said, “And I concur with those two firms. I also agree that MSBA and Ray and Associates were the two best of the presentations …”

Asked by Rudoff to narrow their selection, Vice President Ken Fey, board member Bob Foerstel, Fabick and Rudoff selected Ray and Associates. Lenz, board Treasurer Katie Wesselschmidt and board member Bob Bader selected the MSBA.