Berryville School Board starts superintendent search process

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 ~ Updated 11:29 AM

BERRYVILLE -- The School Board called a special meeting last Friday to begin the process of hiring a new superintendent.

"We've got to get things moving forward," School Board President Vonda Bailey said.

Bailey said there are two options going forward: 1) looking for superintendent candidates independently or 2) hiring a firm to lead the process. Hiring a firm would cost approximately $9,000, according to Bailey.

Before deciding what to do, the board will hear from the Omaha-based executive recruitment firm Mac and Jake -- also known as McPherson and Jacobson LLC -- tonight at another special meeting at 6 p.m. in the Berryville Intermediate School cafetorium. Bald Knob School District Superintendent Keith Williams, a Mac and Jake consultant, will give a presentation at the meeting.

Bailey said Mac and Jake is the only firm endorsed by the Arkansas School Boards Association.

Ahead of the meeting tonight, Bailey advised her fellow board members to start considering goals or visions for the district's future, ideal characteristics of a superintendent and a possible salary package.

Superintendent Randy Byrd currently makes $122,500 a year, along with benefits including vacation, sick and personal days; travel expenses and health insurance. According to 2013-2014 data from the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, superintendents in the state make an average of $107,910 a year; the national average for 2010-2011 was $161,992.

The superintendent search process was kicked off on Jan. 20 when, by a 3-4 vote, the Berryville School Board declined to renew Byrd's contract for another year. His current contract is up at the end of June.

Bailey, Lydia King and David Waller voted to renew his contract, while Todd Howard, Kristi Howerton, Jeff Miles and Sherri Plumlee voted against it.

Howard, Miles and Plumlee told Carroll County News they had no comment on why they voted against renewing Byrd's contract; Howerton was not at the special meeting on Friday and did not return calls for comment on the issue.

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