The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 21, 2014

Editorial: Superintendent, city manager openings need national searches

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid soon will face a leadership void.

Shawn Hime, superintendent of Enid Public Schools, is leaving in April to be executive director of the Oklahoma State School Board Association. And Enid City Manager Eric Benson will retire at the end of the year.

We need broad national searches on both fronts. Casting wide nets on both positions should attract great candidates.

The Enid school board recently hired the OSSBA, which previously helped our district find Hime, to aid in securing his replacement.

Likewise, city government leaders should consult with the Oklahoma Municipal League, which offers assistance to city commissions as they go through their city manager selection process. Ultimately, the city of Enid needs to employ a national search firm.

The school board and city commission also need to involve taxpayer/community representatives in the selection process. Screening of potential candidates and selection of three finalists for each position should be assigned to task forces.

The superintendent selection committee should have two school board members, at least two community members and at least one professional educator representing district teachers. That group, working with OSSBA or other guidance, should recommend three finalists to the full school board. The names of the three finalists should be made public at that time.

The city commission should follow a similar process, being intentional about getting taxpayer and employee representation in the selection process that leads to recommending three finalists. Citizens will appreciate seeing how hopefuls react with the public.

This isn’t personal; it’s about a process that gives all stakeholders confidence that the best candidates are being seen.

Two of the most influential positions in Enid are opening. We hope these important searches are open, too.