- By Dan Veaner
The third time was not the charm for the Lansing School district when School Superintendent Dr. Corlis Kaiser announced her resignation after only one year. The school board seemed almost stunned that the find themselves faced with the prospect of yet another search.
Last night's school board meeting began with a prepared statement by board president, Dan Brown, in which he stated, "The buck stops here." He said he hadn't dealt with Dr. Kaiser in a way in which she could see her value to the board and the community. He supported the teachers and administrators, saying, "The crew is moving in the right direction, but without a captain.
This left the board with two questions: Should an interim superintendent be put in place to allow more time to search for a permanent replacement? And should the search be open as past searches have been, or closed with only board members involved?
Board members seemed to agree that an interim Superintendent should be chosen to allow more time to find the best candidate. There was concern that at this late time in the season that the only candidates left are those who didn't make the first cut in other districts.
There was much debate about whether to conduct an open or closed search. The advantage of a closed search is that a top-tier candidate can be considered without his or her current district learning they are considering a move. Another advantage is that the search period is shorter with fewer people involved. The benefit of an open search is that all the stakeholders have input into the process. This could include members of the administration, teachers, students and members of the community.
Strangely, community members present argued for a closed search, while some board members preferred an open one. "My personal ethics and sense of responsibility would prohibit me from ever doing anything like that" (conduct a closed search), proclaimed board woman Christine Iacobucci.
Suggestions were solicited from the community, including the importance of a "brutally honest" exit interview, the role of consultants, and allowing three weeks to solicit community input. The board then withdrew into an executive session to discuss the situation further.