AISD Picks a Search Team for New Superintendent
Picking the pickers
By Maggie Q. Thompson, Fri., Feb. 3, 2023
At a lean meeting last week (Jan. 26), the Austin ISD Board of Trustees hired a search firm to help the district look for its fourth superintendent in five years. GR Recruiting, which won the $42,000 contract, will be responsible for advertising the AISD opportunity, taking community input on the profile of an ideal candidate, finding candidates, and reviewing and screening applicants. In Texas, this search is usually done out of public view until a "sole finalist" is announced.
Trustee Noelita Lugo – who chaired the committee that recommended GR Recruiting to the board – stressed the importance of a transparent and rigorous hiring process. The search firm "is an investment for the district [that] gives us access to a far more expansive and growing pipeline of potential candidates. So not just current superintendents, but others who may not have otherwise known of the position but can be recruited." Over the last few weeks, the committee reviewed proposals from five firms, invited three to give oral presentations, invited two to a second meeting and called their references, and made its selection Jan. 23.
GR Recruiting will begin by laying out its timeline – trustees have said a new superintendent should be hired in June – followed by community engagement. During the search, Interim Superintendent Matias Segura emphasized, "stability does not mean being static and just sitting idly by." He presented on the district's top priorities for the next six months – among which are improvements to special education, multilingual education, teacher/staff morale (increasing pay being "top of the list"), and Mendez Middle School.
As part of the 2022 bond program, which Segura ran as the district's operations chief before taking over for departing Interim Superintendent Anthony Mays, architects are starting designs in the next few weeks. As for long-struggling Mendez, Segura said he toured the campus recently and he's hopeful that the new in-district charter will raise the school's Texas Education Agency performance rating to a passing score in the next year.
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