Either way trustees should act soon
The Douglas County school board has a tough choice to make Tuesday.
The board will consider its next step in the process to replace departing Superintendent Pendery Clark.
An interim superintendent, John Soderman, has been appointed, and one school board member is already convinced that the district should skip a national search and hand the reins to Soderman. Soderman is a veteran teacher and administrator who knows the district, and a possible search might be an unnecessary expense, the explanation goes.
Others advocate a national search, asserting that’s the only way to assure the best possible candidate is selected. There are also politics involved – critics of Clark say the district needs “a clean start,” and believe a national search would facilitate one.
The last time a public administrator with as much responsibility as the schools superintendent was needed was in 1995, when a county manager was hired. Similar arguments were raised then, but the county commission decided to bypass a national search and go with a fiscal officer who was already working for the county named Dan Holler – a choice no one seems to regret.
There’s not an easy answer here, and waiting probably won’t produce one. The school board needs to make a decision – to search or not – soon. Either decision will have its critics, but procrastinating by having more discussions without a decision will only compound the situation.
Douglas County residents and those involved in education deserve to know who will lead the district, or at least how a new leader will be chosen, sooner rather than later.