District 225 starts search for new principal

Hafsa Rahman, asst. news editor

A new South principal will be selected by February 2022 with the help of the newly recruited search firm Ray and Associates, Inc., District 225 Superintendent Dr. Charles Johns said.

Interim Principal Dr. Rosanne Williamson stated that she does not intend to apply for principal, and plans to return to her role as assistant superintendent at the district office before retiring at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

Ray and Associates, Inc. was selected after a series of interviews were conducted by a search firm committee, Johns said at the District 225 Board of Education meeting on Oct. 12.

“It is valuable for [our] school district to find a search firm both to advertise and help recruit candidates to apply for the position so we get a larger footprint [of candidates] than we might if we [searched] internally,” Johns said. Jason Markey, Glenbrook North principal, headed thesearch firm committee. He explained that Ray and Associates, Inc. fit the criteria the committee sought.

“Specific criteria that we looked for was a search firm that was really engaged in the process, and willing to customize the process to the needs of the community,” Markey said.

On the student side of the committee, Leah Hides, student body vice president, was chosen to represent the student body based on the recommendation made by Mark Maranto, assistant principal for student activities. Maranto believed that Hides would best represent the interest of the student body. Hides explained that she made decisions based on insight she received from her civics class.

“Before I did my [search firm] interviews I asked my [civics] class what characteristics they [thought] represent our school the best,” Hides said. “I judged most of the firms based on the [feedback] I [received].”

Ray and Associates, Inc. will now build a candidate profile based on surveys sent on Nov. 2 to students, parents, and staff in order to assess what community members are looking  for in South’s next principal, Markey said.

“A [candidate profile] helps potential candidates understand if the position [will be a good] fit,” Markey said. “It also helps build a set of interview questions that match the profile and speak to exactly what the [community] wants, and it makes sure all of their voices are represented in the process.”

District 225 is looking for various qualifications in the new principal that include holding a doctorate degree and having experience in both an administrative and a high school environment, Johns noted.

“The district is looking for an experienced individual who demonstrates effectiveness in leading a complex educational organization and acts as a role model to both our staff and students,” Johns said.

Once the data from the survey is collected, the official job application for the position will be posted on education job websites, and screening interviews will begin held by the search firm itself, Johns said. He explained that after applications are posted, candidates will be analyzed according to the desired traits identified in the candidate profile.

“Candidates will be screened through the hiring firm based on the individual’s capabilities as they match to the desired traits identified in the candidate profile” Johns said.

“The search team will review each file, conduct interviews, and complete extensive background investigations of the potential candidates.”

From the screening interviews, Ray and Associates will narrow the potential candidates and an interview committee selected by the district will conduct interviews to choose the top three candidates, from which the Board of Education will make the official hiring.

“Top candidates who meet the qualifications will be sent to the district for consideration by interview teams composed of board members, staff, parents, and students,” Johns said.

Johns believes that South’s reputation of having an excellent staff, community support, and highly achieving students will attract many candidates for the principal position.

“We are the number two district in the country,” Johns said. “[South is] a place where people aspire to work. I am confident that we will have a good set of candidates for the [principal] position.”