School Board to name finalists for superintendent position

By Dustin Koury
At a special school board meeting on Saturday, February 6, the first round of interviews were held for the 10 candidates vying for the position of Superintendent.
This was done in closed session so no information could be provided.
Trudy Wied, administrative assistant to the Board of Education and Superintendent, said another special board meeting will be held Wednesday, February 10, where the candidates list will be narrowed down to the finalists.
At their Business School Board Meeting on Wednesday Jan. 27, Trina Townsend provided statistics regarding superintendent vacancies and hirings across the state. According to Townsend, in 2015 there approximately 75 superintendent changes, including 50 new superintendents. In the past three years, there have been 130 superintendent changes. There are currently 25 openings across the state, with more openings expected due to potential retirements.
According to Board President Bob Skalitzky, there were 10 candidates for the Pulaski vacancy. The Board discussed the potential options regarding how best to interview and select from those candidates. Townsend drew from a recent conference in which recommendations included a first round of interviews to be conducted by outside teams made up of staff and community members.
Townsend said the more community can be involved in the selection process, the more likely it will be that community members feel comfortable with the Board’s hiring decision.
Townsend then stated that a potential second round of interviews could be conducted in an open question and answer session where community members could ask the final candidates about specific issues.
Board Member Michael Voelker suggested having an open debate-style interview, where community members could present questions to a moderator who would allow each of the candidates to comment on issues important to the community.
Pulaski High School Principal John Matczak and Director of Learning Services Jenny Gracyalny spoke about the progress of the Class Rank Study Committee. Gracyalny clarified for the Board that any statements or reports indicating that decisions have been made regarding class rank or grade indexing in the District are false.
Board and committee member Michael Voelker bluntly stated that some of the articles and radio discussions regarding the committee were poorly written or presented inaccurate information. At this time, the committee is examining the options and researching how other districts and colleges utilize class rank. The committee has met two times and includes students, staff, and parents from the community in addition to Matczak, Gracyalny, and Voelker. The purpose of the meetings thus far has been to examine the purpose and impact of class rank and whether it helps or hinders Pulaski students.
The committee is currently involved in contacting neighboring districts and universities throughout the state in order to learn about how class rank is utilized in those areas. Matczak and Gracyalny were clear in their statements that the group will be making decisions based only upon the facts that they collect as it pertains to the best interest of Pulaski students. The group met again Feb. 3 in order to consolidate the data that they have collected, and expect to have a potential report and proposal for the Board in April or May regarding their findings.
Interim Superintendent Bec Kurzynske reports that the next two Coffee and Conversation meetings will be held at Maplewood Shell and Hillcrest Elementary School on Feb. 16 and 18.