Search for Alpena Superintendent Begins

From Harrison Daily Times

Alpena School Superintendent David Westenhover said the Board of Education is set to meet Thursday night with a search firm to find a new superintendent.

Westenhover announced last month that he would not request an extension of his contract, which runs through June 2021.

At the time he made the announcement, the board initially decided to take applications and oversee the process without hiring a search firm.

However, the board met last week and took a second look at that proposition.

Board president Robb Hulsey said he was at first against the idea of hiring a search firm, but he did contact the search firm of McPherson & Jacobson L.L.C., which other area school boards have used.

“But the more I looked at it the more I’m starting to change my mind,” Hulsey said.

He said he felt one of the biggest advantages of the search firm is the intensity of background and reference checks. The firm not only looks at the three references applicants provide, but can go deeper with other references from the first references.

The search firm can also ask questions of applicants that a school board cannot. And it would guarantee that the candidate the board would eventually interview and hire would stay with the district for at least two years. If not, the firm would perform a new search for free except for actual expenses.

“But the cost is $6,500,” Hulsey said.

Board member Trisha Cantwell said she was mainly concerned about spending the money because the district has been out so much on COVID-19 precautions so far this year. She said she would want to meet with the firm first and Hulsey said he was told a meeting with the board could be arranged.

Board member Tony Moore said his main question was whether the benefit of the search firm would outweigh the cost. He thought the board could probably handle the process, but probably not as efficiently as the firm.

Hulsey said the firm indicated to him that it would take the board’s recommendations and requirements to advertise for potential candidates.

The board decided to ask Hulsey to contact the firm again and arrange a meeting with the board as soon as possible.

Westenhover said that meeting is scheduled at the school for 6 p.m. Thursday.


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