District selects firm in superintendent search

Print Article

The Whitefish School Board has selected Ray and Associates to help find a new superintendent for the district.

The board on Nov. 12 approved the selection of Ray and Associates, a national educational executive leadership search firm, at a base fee of $13,000.

The district is looking to hire a new superintendent following current Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt’s announcement of her resignation last month, effective at the end of the school year.

Trustee Heather Vrentas said she and the rest of the superintendent search committee met three times and selected Ray and Associates out of five contenders.

Along with Vrentas, the committee is made up of Trustees Katie Clarke and Ruth Harrison, Director of Educational Services Dave Means, District Business Director Lucie Shea and Dave Fern, a former trustee.

Vrentas said the committee considered whether to search as a board or to hire an outside firm and ultimately landed on the latter.

“We started out with the broadest question of, ‘Resignation is confirmed with a date, what are our options for hiring?’ We looked into conducting the search ourselves as a board or as a committee. We talked to a trustee in a neighboring district who had been a part of a school board-led search and heard some pitfalls and, in that case, the worst case scenario of trustees doing the work. We weighed the pros and cons of that investment and how serious the hiring is and decided we should research search firms,” she said.

Vrentas said the committee was impressed with Ray and Associates’ stakeholder feedback process, active recruiting and candidate vetting process.

They also come with a local tie-in as well, Clarke said, as the firm has a Montana office in Bigfork and will work with Darlene Schottle, who herself has served as a superintendent in the Kalispell School District.

“We had a lot of input along the way from faculty and staff telling us that it was important that they wanted somebody who understood the community and what we’re all about, and when we talked to Ray and Associates and they said, ‘Oh, our consultant’s in Bigfork,’ it was so exciting,” she said.

Harrison also said she’s happy with the committee’s selection.

“Having gone through that process, I feel really confident that we’ve made a solid and well-considered choice. This one was pretty standout,” she said.

Schottle, speaking via phone, said she’s excited to work with the district and has a vested interest in Montana education.

“I have a very big interest in education in the state of Montana and I was very excited when I got the call from Ray and Associates to have me interview and even more pleased and honored that you wanted me to be your lead associate and facilitator, and I really look forward to working with you,” she said.

The board is set to have its first work session with Schottle and Ray and Associates on Dec. 3.

Print Article

Read More

Fundraiser aims to assist teacher injured in car accident

December 10, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Whitefish Pilot After Whitefish Schools Choir Director Sky Thoreson totaled his car in an accident last week, his colleagues are stepping up to help. Thoreson slid across the median on U.S. Highway 93 while heading...

Comments

Read More

Adelheid ‘Heidi’ Ratz

December 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Whitefish Pilot Adelheid “Heidi” Ratz, 85, was delivered into the arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Dec. 7, 2019. She was surrounded by her family and friends, as she passed away from the results of a str...

Comments

Read More

Community input sought for superintendent search

December 10, 2019 at 11:32 am | Whitefish Pilot The Whitefish School District is looking for community input as the search for a new superintendent gets underway. The Whitefish School Board is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12 from...

Comments

Read More

Christmas Stroll

December 10, 2019 at 10:57 am | Whitefish Pilot Folks walked through downtown Friday for the annual Whitefish Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Stroll. Events included the lighting of trees in Depot Park, vendors on the street and visits with Santa...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2019 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X