Durham County

School board adopts aggressive timeline in superintendent search

The Durham Board of Education has set an aggresive timeline to have a new superintendent in place by Nov. 3.
The Durham Board of Education has set an aggresive timeline to have a new superintendent in place by Nov. 3.

The Durham Board of Education has circled July 26 on its calendar as the date it hopes to have finalists selected in its search for a superintendent to replace Bert L’Homme.

The school board made that decision Wednesday night during its regular monthly business meeting, which lasted longer than usual to give the board a chance to recognize a long list of student and teacher high-achievers.

The July 26 date was part of timeline presented by the North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA), which the board has hired to help conduct the search.

The timeline sets Oct. 4 as the date the new superintendent will be named and introduced to the community and Nov. 3 as the start date of the new superintendent’s employment.

In an interview, School board Chairman Mike Lee said he still thinks the board can have a superintendent hired and on the job sooner than Nov. 3, but a lot will depend on how many finalists the board selects.

If the board can reach agreement on four or five finalists, Lee said a superintendent can be in place sooner than Nov. 3

“But if there are 10, then it will be the Nov. 3 date,” Lee said.

Lee hopes to shave a couple of weeks off the timeline, because it could help the board avoid appointing an interim superintendent.

That’s because L’Homme has agreed to remain on the job until the end of September if he is needed, even though he has announced he will retire Aug. 4.

Allison Schafer, legal counsel and director of policy for the NCSBA, said boards usually select seven to 10 finalists.

The process for selecting a new superintendent has grown complicated because board members take vacations over the summer. So, finding dates on which they will all be available has been challenging.

And some board members also have work commitments that will take them out of town over the summer.

Schafer told the board that advertisements for the superintendent’s job are up and running.

“We are starting to get telephone calls from people and we’re excited about that,” Schafer said. “We’ve gotten telephone calls and emails from people who are interested in the position.”

Schafer invited board members to submit the names of potential candidates they’d like the NCSBA to contact about the job.

“We always invite board members to do that because you might know someone who has expressed interest to you,” Schafer said.

The board also agreed to hold at least three community roundtable conversations to give residents a chance to weigh in on the search for a new superintendent.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645