Capital retains Delaware School Boards Association in superintendent search

DOVER — Capital School District will work with the Delaware School Boards Association to select a search firm to help find the next superintendent for the district, the school board decided.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to work with DSBA. The decision comes with no additional fiscal impact to the district, as it pays annual dues to the association, said school board president John Martin. The board voted in June to retain its membership to DSBA, with a fee of $11,549.

“The hiring of a superintendent is the greatest responsibility of the school board,” said Mr. Martin.

In the same meeting that the board tapped Sylvia Henderson as interim superintendent last month, the board heard from DSBA Executive Director John Marinucci, who walked them through how DSBA could assist in a superintendent search.

The board determined that DSBA would serve as facilitator in locating the search firm so that the school board could find the right match. DSBA will draft a request for proposal to find several potential organizations to interview. Requests for proposals are required for state agencies when costs total more than $50,000. It’s unlikely that the district would exceed that, however the district decided it still wanted to have an RFP process.

During the discussion of the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2021 in June, board member Tony DePrima asked the board to consider building in funding — about $15,000 — for the search.

“By having [Mr. Marinucci] as an accountability partner, I think it increases transparency because it’s not us directly going out and grabbing whatever agency we want,” Mr. Martin said. “Because I too want us to be responsive to the community … I would like to see him as an accountability person.”

Board member Sean Christiansen echoed those sentiments.

“I think the five of us should remain neutral in the entire process, … including the actual finding out who is going to do our search,” he said, noting they could turn to Mr. Marinucci for additional neutrality.

“That leaves us as the five elected officials free of any attachment to any group, any sway of anything. … We’ve done a lot of stuff like this before and I think we’ve done the right thing by putting the right people in the right place by staying neutral. We’re going to have a lot on our plate, with the superintendent search, opening school and everything else.”

In his remarks to the board, Dr. DePrima said he wanted to have a draft request for proposals by their August meeting to get the ball rolling.

“Clearly the most important thing we have to do is find and pick a fantastic next superintendent,” he said. “The second most important thing we have to do is pick the right search company or business or search nonprofit to assist us in finding that person.”