Beaufort News

School board to screen superintendent candidates behind closed doors Wednesday

The Beaufort County Board of Education will meet today behind closed doors to screen superintendent applicants.

The board is to meet at 2:30 p.m. at the school district's offices on Mink Point Boulevard with its search firm, Ray and Associates.

A candidate could be hired as soon as next month, based on the board's previously stated timeline.

Interim superintendent Jackie Rosswurm has said she will not apply for the position.

Rosswurm took over after Valerie Truesdale retired in October. Truesdale announced her retirement July 20 just before accepting a job overseeing technology for the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District in North Carolina.

Parents and residents have said they want a superintendent who has new ideas and the ambition to implement them. According to comments at forums in the fall, the public also wants someone who understands and can work with the diverse Beaufort County community, is willing to make tough decisions and can work with tight budgets.

Bill Newman, national executive director of Ray and Associates, has said the feedback from the forums and an online survey will be used to help determine which candidates will be interviewed by the school board.

Names and some information about semifinalists will be presented to the board today. Interviews could begin next week, board Chairman Bill Evans said.

After interviews, the board will meet again with the consultant to select at least three finalists, who will undergo a second round of interviews.

"Those names will be released," Evans said, adding that finalists will be brought to the district for a tour and to be questioned by district staff, teachers and the public.

"It's valuable we hear what people have to say," Evans said. "We want to thoroughly vet these finalists to identify a person who will be the best fit for this district."

Board members will then visit the leading candidate or candidates' school district, Evans said.

The search firm and board will then negotiate a contract, including salary, which the job posting says is "in the range of $215,000."

Truesdale was paid $209,712, plus an $850-per-month gas allowance, Foster said.

Rosswurm continues to receive the $126,000 salary and $500-per-month gasoline allowance she earned as the district's head of human resources. She also is receiving a $4,700-per-month stipend while she is acting superintendent, according to district spokesman Jim Foster.

The board set aside $60,000 for the superintendent search, including expenses to bring candidates to Beaufort for interviews. The school board approved a $22,000 contract with Ray & Associates, plus travel, advertising and other expenses of no more than $5,000.

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