Shawnee Mission taxpayers can begin weighing in today with their opinions on the next school superintendent.
On Monday, the school board hired Ray & Associates to conduct a nationwide search to replace Gene Johnson, who plans to retire in June.
The firm announced immediate plans to conduct an online survey and a series of public meetings Nov. 26 and 27 to determine what characteristics taxpayers would like to see in the next leader.
Board president Patty Mach said the online survey would be available at the district’s website, smsd.org, today through noon Nov. 29.
The survey and meetings, which will be held at several times and locations on those dates, will help the search firm create a profile to narrow the candidate search.
“Once we know that, then we can recruit,” said Gary Ray, president of Ray & Associates, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The school board met Nov. 3 to interview search firms and ultimately agreed it would hire Ray & Associates. The group includes a team of superintendents who help with the process, including former Center and Harrisonville superintendent Walt Swanson.
Mach said Ray would serve as a lead consultant for Shawnee Mission.
The board will pay the firm $24,000 as a base search fee and expenses.
The goal is to have a new superintendent named by spring.
Mach said the board is eager to have residents, business owners and government officials take part in the dialogue.
Board member Cindy Neighbor urged parents to get involved, either through the online survey or the open forums.
“We’re here to serve you but we need your input,” she said.
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