Saline Board Of Education To Begin Search For New Superindent On Tuesday

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The hunt for a new permanent superintendent for Saline Area Schools is on. Interim Superintendent Steve Laatsch is now running the show, since the last school board meeting was the final one for Scot Graden, who is leaving the district after a marathon 13 years on the job.

“While this year is looking better financially due to Covid aid, that will not always be the case, and maintaining a higher fund balance and having continued conversations around revenue generation need to occur,” School Board President Jennifer Steben said.

The official posting for the top job hasn’t gone up yet. The Board of Education will be hosting a special session Tuesday, to select a consulting firm specializing in this kind of selection process.

Board members will be able to ask questions of the three perspective firms about their processes and standards. The firms were selected by reaching out to other school districts and asking them how they helped get a superintendent when they needed one, and reaching out to those firms, according to the District. If none of the firms are to the boards liking, others can be contacted.

When asked what the district should look for in a new superintendent, the Executive Director for the Foundation for Saline Area Schools, Annherst Krietz said she thought the new superintendent should continue Graden’s policies. This meant a creative, future looking, proactive approach to education, working closely with her foundation.

“I think that what we have been doing has been exceptional. There is always room for growth and I know the Board of Education has been very cognizant of that, ” Kreitz said. Kreitz added that the new superintendent should be innovative,” creative, future focused and continue to put Saline on the map, with education, sports and extracurricular activities.”

“The students would probably tell us that it wouldn’t hurt if they liked snow days either,” Steben said, when asked the same question.

Saline Area School’s is currently operating on a hybrid model, where some students are learning online and some are going to the physical buildings. Continuing that and learning how to transition into an eventual return to normal once the vaccine rollout is done, will be a challenge, as well as long term financial stability, and issues with racism, Steben said.

“We will not shy away from sharing the pain that issues of racism have had in our community. We are dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, and involving the entire SAS family in this conversation,” Steben said.

An open and honest line of communication between the board and the superintendent will also be important, as well as embracing new technologies and using data for continuous improvement, according to Steben. Also important will be having high expectations of students, and using data collection to make constant improvements.

Interim Superintendent Steve Laatsch declined to comment on whether or not he is interested in taking on the superintendent position permanently.

“I am just focusing on doing the best job possible for the District in this Interim Superintendent role. That includes supporting our students, staff, and community throughout this ongoing Pandemic. I will address my future plans at a later date,” Laatsch told the Sun Times News in an email.

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