Superintendent search intensifies in Lindbergh School District

School board hears report from Taxpayers Task Force

By MIKE ANTHONY

The Lindbergh Board of Education’s search for a new superintendent will intensify as the deadline for applications was Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is assisting the Board of Education in the search for a new superintendent to replace Jim Sandfort, who is retiring at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

During a Board of Education meeting last week, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services Rick Francis reported that Ray and Associates had received 19 completed applications for the superintendent’s post. In addition, the firm had 192 contacts in its database, plus 85 contacts made at the fall Missouri School Boards Association convention. Thirty inquiries have been made from people requesting in-formation or materials about the post.

Francis also wrote in a memo, “Ray and Associates’ typical experience has been that candidates apply for a position of this type within the last few weeks of the posted deadline. Therefore, they do expect to receive more completed applications before the Jan. 15, 2008, deadline.”

On Monday, Francis told that Call that Ray and Associates had received a total of 42 completed applications as of Friday.

The Board of Education last week voted to conduct a number of closed sessions later this month and in early February to discuss and interview superintendent candidates. Francis said the board is looking to announce the hiring of the new superintendent in mid-February.

The district is seeking a proven leader, according to a brochure for the superintendent’s post, who:

• Inspires trust, self-confidence and models high standards of integrity and personal performance with the ability to develop and communicate a vision of quality education.

• Is strongly committed to a “student- first” philosophy in all decisions.

• Demonstrates effective communication skills, including speaking, listening and writing.

• Possesses excellent people skills, listens to input and makes timely decisions.

• Can appropriately delegate authority while maintaining accountability.

• Is able to lead a large organization dedicated to goals of continuous improvement.

• Has demonstrated the ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and closing or narrowing the gaps in student achievement.

• Will commit to community visibility with high interest in a broad range of community groups and organizations.

• Is committed to the importance of both academic and activity programs.

• Inspires and motivates others to achieve or exceed annual progress requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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, who has served as superintendent since 1991, has been involved in school administration for roughly 35 years.

Besides having the longest tenure in the same school district of any superintendent in St. Louis County, 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.

In a separate matter Jan. 8, the board heard members of the district’s Taxpayers Task Force present nine recommendations designed to benefit taxpayers — particularly those on fixed incomes — without financially harming the school district.

During the course of six meetings, task-force members formulated their report, which includes four areas — 11 taxpayer concerns, eight school-district concerns, six taxpayer and school-district shared concerns and the nine recommendations.

Among the recommendations are:

• “That the Board of Education and other taxing entities roll back taxes when balance limits are exceeded.”

• “That current property-tax credits against income taxes are increased and that the income-qualification levels be substantially increased.”

• “That individuals who pay property taxes have the option to defer payment through a state-approved reverse-mortgage program — low interest and fees — until such time as the property changes ownership. However, through a third-party vendor — bank — the district would receive full payment in the current year.”