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District 161 residents can participate in superintendent search this month

More than 25 applicants are seeking the position of superintendent in Flossmoor School District 161 with three weeks remaining for more to apply, according to an official of the firm conducting the search.

Mark Friedman, president of BWP and Associates, is pleased with both the quantity and quality of the candidates generated by his firm’s advertising of the position. His firm has also recruited other candidates to apply for the post.

“The applicants responded almost immediately to the opening,” Friedman said. “We have an attractive candidate pool, everything’s falling into place.”

Also falling into place is the agenda for Jan. 17, a day when various stakeholders and residents of District 161 will have their opportunity to help develop a profile of those qualities needed for the superintendent position. Friedman said the profile will be a key tool used to screen the applicants.

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Friedman stated that throughout the day meetings will be held with staff, administrators and community leaders. That evening, an open community meeting will take place. The location and time of the public meeting have not yet been determined.

Residents will have another means to provide their thoughts about the superintendent position starting the week of Jan. 16 when an online survey will be available on the District 161 website. Friedman added that residents are invited to participate in the survey and at the open meeting on Jan. 17.

“We will have four consultants working with the various groups throughout that day,” Friedman said. “Ordinarily we need just two consultants, but we want to be prepared to meet with many people.”

BWP and Associates will create the profile based on these information gathering activities. The profile will be presented to the Board of Education on Jan. 23. Friedman said his firm will then use the profile as a primary tool in reducing the candidate pool to 10-12 applicants that he and the other consultants will interview.

After those interviews, the field will be reduced to between four and six finalists.

“They will then be personally interviewed by members of the board of education,” Friedman said. He added that a new superintendent is expected to be identified by late February.

The search for a new school chief follows the recent separation agreement between the board and Craig Doster, District 161’s superintendent for the past six years. Board members approved the separation agreement on Nov. 8. The separation followed a mutual agreement and Doster’s resignation. Doster’s contract with the district officially ended Dec. 31.

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