UD research center assists Lake Forest in search for new superintendent

FELTON — Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the interview process for new leadership in the top position in the Lake Forest School District continues, with slight modifications.

In March, the school board announced that it would work with Delaware Academy of School Leadership, of the University of Delaware, to find its next superintendent. The search comes after the board voted 4-1 in December that it would not renew the contract of Superintendent Brenda Wynder. Dr. Wynder’s contract ends in June 2020.

DASL is a professional development, policy and research center in UD’s College of Education and Human Development. This is the first superintendent search the organization has helped coordinate in all aspects; DASL is also assisting with the search for a new superintendent in Christina School District.

The job posting closed March 30, and Earle Dempsey, school board president, said that the board received “several qualified applicants.”

“Our overall timeline remains unchanged, with the board planning to select and name our next superintendent by the end of May so that he or she can start at the beginning of the school year in July,” he said in an email.

Mr. Dempsey said that the board has reviewed the applications, and will hold the first round of interviews next week. Those interviews will be done remotely, in response to COVID-19.

Mr. Dempsey said that the board has worked with different stakeholders to create selection committees, with one representing employees and the other representing parent/community members.

Following the first round of interviews, Mr. Dempsey said the board plans to hold the second round of interviews in person in mid-May.

“[The process] will involve multiple interviews by different groups, including a staff panel and a community panel,” he said. “These committees will be kept small in number to ensure we can safely adhere to any meeting or distancing restrictions that may still be in place at that time.”

At the start of the process, Mr. Dempsey said that the board wanted to solicit feedback from the community and staff about what they wanted to see in the district’s next superintendent. A survey was sent out to gauge input.

“The board is also excited about the results of the survey released to our community to gain their perspective and priorities in the superintendent search and candidate review,” he said. “Feedback received was insightful and candid, and we were especially pleased with the high degree of participation from district staff.”