Shawnee Mission superintendent search exceeds target for applicants

Ralph Teran and Brenda Dietrich gave an update on the search for a new superintendent Monday.
Ralph Teran and Brenda Dietrich gave an update on the search for a new superintendent Monday.

In an update on the search for the next Shawnee Mission superintendent, consultants from Ray and Associates on Monday told the board of education that they’d received more applicants for the position than the district had set as a target.

Brenda Dietrich and Ralph Teran of Ray and Associates said that they had received 65 completed applications for the position. An additional six candidates had submitted applications that were missing parts, and the consultants are following up with those individuals to see if they had inadvertently left the application incomplete. That gives the district a broader candidate pool than the consultants had anticipated.

“It’s really a great number,” said Dietrich. “We had hoped to have between 50 and 60. And so with 65, and maybe if those six additional candidates in the next 24 hours can get their applications completed, you may be close to 70. That’s a great pool of candidates for us to help you cull out for who you want to interview.”

A cursory review of the applications by Ray and Associates yielded the following demographic information:

  • 49 applicants hold a doctorate
  • 30 applicants are currently superintendents at other districts
  • 32 of the candidates are currently either deputy or associate superintendents
  • 11 candidates are women. 54 candidates are men.
  • 14 candidates are minorities.

The applicants come from 26 states. Nine are from Kansas, seven from Texas, six from Colorado and five from Florida. Two of the applicants currently live abroad.

The consultants will soon begin a detailed review of the applicants to identify those that best match the ideal candidate profile the district developed in October. Once it has narrowed the field to candidates who may be a good fit for the district, Ray and Associates will conduct background checks in preparation for a Jan. 20 meeting with the board during which the group will decide which handful of candidates they are interested in interviewing.

That meeting comes just 12 days after the new board of education members are to be seated Jan. 8.