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The search is officially on for the next leader of Minneapolis Public Schools: Applications for superintendent are being accepted beginning this week.

So far, it's been a tough job to fill. The school board decided in January to delay the search to collect more community input, and then members voted in March to extend Interim Superintendent Rochelle Cox's contract until the end of June 2024.

Cox took the role in July 2022 after the departure of former Superintendent Ed Graff.

Who is the board looking for?

The school board is seeking a "dynamic and inspirational leader," according to the job posting, which goes on to say that the ideal candidate will be a "visionary instructional leader, effective communicator, and collaborative manager with a strong record of accomplishments as a school district leader."

The next district superintendent, according to the posting, must be able to:

  • Foster unity with the community and "serve as a healing presence"
  • Be visible and active in the community
  • Communicate with staff to understand teaching challenges
  • "Champion diversity, equity and inclusion, addressing inequities and racism in policies, programs, services, facilities and curriculum"
  • Build strong teams and "relentlessly advocate" for diversity, equity and inclusion across the district

Many of the qualities listed reflect the desired characteristics the board was looking for in the 2016 search for a superintendent, which ended with the hiring of Graff.

What about education requirements?

The posting doesn't specify what level of education the applicant should have, but Minnesota requires a superintendent's license. Applicants for a superintendent license must have at least three years of teaching experience, school administration experience and complete a specialist or doctoral program.

What does the job pay?

Pay isn't specified, and it would be negotiated as part of the finalist's contract.

Cox makes $230,000 a year as interim superintendent. Graff also made $230,000 in the final year of his contract.

Who is helping with the search process?

The executive firm BWP & Associates is leading the superintendent search — at a cost of no more than $40,000. BWP staff will train members of a new Superintendent Task Force and recommend several candidates to the task force for interviews.

That task force will include Board Members Lori Norvell, Adriana Cerrillo and Abdul Abdi as well as two students, six community members, two teachers, two support professionals and two principals.

Why a task force?

BWP staff said a task force is not a common part of the superintendent search process for most clients, but having one makes it possible to keep names of some candidates private.

Steven Griesbach, an associate with BWP, said the task force can meet in private before deciding which candidates to recommend to the full board. A quorum of board members would require the meeting to be public.

"[A task force] allows the names of the candidates at that first initial introduction to the district to remain confidential," Griesbach told the board at a recent meeting. "We think that will broaden your pool of candidates."

Where is the job posted?

BWP's $3,000 advertising plan includes job postings in the trade publication Education Week as well as with a variety of associations for school administrators and educators of color. It will also be posted on the BWP website and with the Minnesota School Boards Association and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

What happens next?

Applications will be accepted through Nov. 5, and task force members must be appointed by then.

In mid- to late-November, BWP staff will recommend four to seven candidates. The task force will then conduct interviews over two days and publicly name two or three applicants to recommend to the board.

Those final candidates will undergo another round of public interviews conducted by board members in November.

The board will then select a finalist, negotiate and approve a contract. BWP recommends the board do so before the end of the calendar year.

When would a new superintendent start?

If all goes according to plan, the new leader would start on or before July 1, at the end of Cox's contract. That agreement includes a clause stating that, with mutual consent, her contract can end early if the board finds a permanent superintendent before July.