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CMSD meeting to discuss superintendent candidates


School Board president Angela Verdell

School Board president Angela Verdell



Nathan Gregory



The next step in the search for a permanent superintendent for Columbus Municipal School District will take place June 12. 


The CMSD Board of Trustees will meet then with search firm Ray and Associates to go over the list of applicants. The application deadline was May 30. 


Search firm project associate Al Johnson declined to say how many applicants there are before the meeting, but said there is a "good mix" of candidates near and outside the Golden Triangle area. He said the firm is confident that going forward, it can assist the board of trustees in finding the best candidate for the position.  


"That's what they've hired us to do," Johnson said. "We have a process that we use. We went over that with the board and we will follow the process." 


The school district's interim leader, Edna McGill, announced May 21 that she intended to apply for the position. Since the application deadline, she has not confirmed that she applied. McGill said she believed she has had a positive impact on the district since she was named interim in June 2013. At the time of her appointment, she said she did not intend to serve in a permanent role. In her most recent announcement, however, McGill said she'd been urged by many community members, educators, parents and friends to apply. 


The board has previously made its intention known to have a new permanent leader in place by July 1. CMSD Board President Angela Verdell said the firm's upcoming update on the search conforms with that goal. 


"At this time the board has not received any information on the applicants who have applied for the Superintendent position," Verdell said. 


Board vice president Jason Spears said he believes the search process should be as transparent as possible for stakeholders while respecting the privacy of the candidates. 


"We would like to be accommodating to all applicants to protect their privacy as well as give the public a better understanding on the candidates applying for the position," Spears said. "I really believe we'll find someone who will rise above the others and be the best candidate for that position and they will have all the necessary requirements to meet the needs within our district, improve our district and work with the board." 


The district is paying Iowa-based Ray and Associates $13,500 to conduct the search. The listing for the position on the firm's website states the salary of the position to be in the $175,000 range with benefits. McGill stated she would be willing to take the job for $135,600 without benefits, the same rate of pay she receives now as interim.  


The district approaches the one-year mark without a permanent superintendent after Martha Liddell was relieved of her duties on June 17, 2013. McGill has been serving in the role since June 19, when she was appointed as temporary interim.  



Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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